Understanding breast cancer

When you or someone you know is diagnosed with breast cancer, the first important step is to completely understand what it is, and how does it happen.

Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells, resulting from abnormal changes in the genes that regulate the growth of these cells. These cells, when working as intended, produce healthy new cells as old cells die out. Over time abnormal changes can occur which causes these cells to reproduce uncontrollably, producing more cells than needed, forming a tumour.

There are two types of tumours:

  • Benign tumours are not dangerous to your health. They grow slowly and do not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body.
  • Malignant tumours are potentially dangerous to your health and, if left unchecked, can spread beyond the original tumour to other parts of the body.

The first sign of breast cancer is typically a lump which feels different to the surrounding tissue in the breast. Regular mammograms are recommended as a screening tool.

Find out more information at the Breast Cancer Network Australia website.