Health Information

Breast Health

  • Anatomy of the Breasts

    Each breast has 15 to 20 sections (lobes), which are arranged like the petals of a daisy. Each lobe has many smaller lobules, which end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can produce milk.

  • Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT)

    BCPT was a clinical trial that studied tamoxifen as a prevention therapy for those at high risk for breast cancer. Data showed the results of tamoxifen treatment to be "highly significant," with a 49 percent reduction in the number of invasive breast cancers seen across all age groups.

  • Common Breast Conditions

    Detailed information on the most common breast conditions, including mastalgia (breast pain), benign breast lumps, fibrocystic breast changes, nipple problems, nipple discharge, breast infections, and breast inflammation

  • How to Perform a Breast Self-Examination (BSE)

    By doing BSE regularly, you get to know how your breasts normally feel so that you are more apt to detect any change.

  • Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer Treatment

    Your oncologist will determine how long and how often you will have chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy can be administered intravenously or by pill, and is usually a combination of drugs.

  • About Clinical Trials: Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Clinical trials are studies, managed by government agencies, educational institutions, private not-for-profit organizations, or commercial businesses, to develop, produce, and evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments and therapies for diseases.

  • Diagnosing Benign (Noncancerous) Breast Conditions

    To diagnose a breast condition, your doctor will examine your breasts and may order imaging tests or a biopsy.

  • How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

    It is important to remember that a lump or other changes in the breast, or an abnormal area on a mammogram, may be caused by cancer or by other, less serious problems.

  • Frequently Asked Questions: Mammograms

    Timing your mammogram when your breasts are not tender is important. In premenopausal women, this is usually one week after a menstrual period.

  • General Information About Breast Cancer

    Ductal carcinoma, lobular carcinoma, and Paget's disease are several types of breast cancer.

  • Other Treatments for Breast Cancer

    Other treatments for breast cancer include hormone therapy, used to prevent the growth, spread, and recurrence of the cancer, adjuvant therapy, and biological therapy.

  • Home Page - Breast Health

    Detailed information on breast health, anatomy of the breast, breast development, breast cancer prevention, common breast conditions, and breast cancer in males and females

  • Breast Infections and Inflammations

    The most common type of breast infection is lactational mastitis, which occurs when a woman is breastfeeding. The nipples become cracked and sore, allowing bacteria from the baby's mouth to enter the ducts and rapidly multiply in the milk.

  • Common Benign Lumps

    The two most common types of benign breast lumps are cysts and fibroadenomas. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in the breast tissue. Fibroadenomas are solid, smooth, firm, benign lumps that are most commonly found in women in their late teens and early 20s.

  • Lymphedema After a Mastectomy

    Whenever the normal drainage pattern in the lymph nodes is disturbed or damaged—often during surgery to remove the lymph nodes—the arm may swell. This swelling, caused by too much fluid, is called lymphedema.

  • Mammogram

    Detailed information on mammography, including the different types of mammography, how one is performed, and recommended guidelines

  • About Breast Cancer in Men

    Breast cancer in men is rare—less than 1 percent of all breast carcinomas occur in men.

  • Normal Breast Development and Changes

    Breast development occurs in distinct stages, first before birth, and again at puberty and during the childbearing years. Changes also occur to the breasts during menstruation and when a woman reaches menopause.

  • National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP)

    Detailed information on breast cancer clinical trials, including the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project

  • Online Resources - Breast Health

    List of online resources to find additional information on breast health, including breast cancer

  • Mastalgia (Breast Pain)

    The most common type of breast pain is associated with the menstrual cycle and is nearly always hormonal.

  • Post-Mastectomy

    Detailed information for women following a mastectomy, including breast reconstruction, lymphedema prevention, and breast prosthesis

  • Nipple Problems and Discharge

    Nipple conditions are a common benign breast condition affecting many women. Some problems are related to lactation, and others are not.

  • Post-Mastectomy Prosthesis

    A prosthesis can be worn against the skin, inside the pocket of a mastectomy bra, or attached to the chest wall. Prosthetic devices are designed to look feminine and be comfortable.

  • Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer Treatment

    Radiation therapy is a process that precisely sends high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells. Radiation done after surgery can kill cancer cells that may not be seen during surgery.

  • Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

    Factors that appear to raise a woman's risk for breast cancer include advancing age, family history, benign breast conditions, and a late menopause.

  • Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

    Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain and may cause no symptoms at all.

  • Topic Index - Breast Health

    Detailed information on breast health, anatomy of the breast, breast development, breast cancer prevention, common breast conditions, and breast cancer in males and females

  • Stages of Breast Cancer

    When breast cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will order tests to find out if the cancer has spread from the breast to other parts of the body. This is called staging and is an important step toward planning a treatment program.

  • Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR)

    STAR was a clinical trial of the drug raloxifene that included more than 19,000 postmenopausal women at increased risk for breast cancer. The results showed that raloxifene worked as well as tamoxifen at reducing breast cancer risk.

  • Breast Cancer Statistics

    Breast cancer ranks second among cancer deaths in women after lung cancer.

  • Surgery for Breast Cancer Treatment

    Surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible is the primary treatment for breast cancer. Today, women have many surgical options and choices.

  • About Tamoxifen

    Tamoxifen has been used to treat both advanced and early stage breast cancer. More recently, tamoxifen is being used as an additional therapy following primary treatment for early stage breast cancer.

  • About Taxol

    Taxol, or paclitaxel, is a drug used for treating certain women who have advanced breast or ovarian cancer. Paclitaxel is a compound that is extracted from the bark of the Pacific yew tree.

  • Breast Health: Three-Step Plan for Preventive Care

    To monitor your breast health, you should do a monthly breast self-exam, get a year clinical exam, and get mammograms as directed by your doctor.

  • Treatments for Breast Cancer

    Detailed information on breast cancer treatment, including surgery, breast reconstruction, lymphedema, breast prosthesis, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, Tamoxifen, and Taxol

  • Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome

    People with this syndrome have dark moles around the mouth, nose, and eyes, as well as multiple polyps in the intestines.

  • Li-Fraumeni Syndrome

    Li-Fraumeni syndrome raises the risk for breast cancer and many other types of cancer.

  • Hereditary Breast Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (BRCA1/BRCA2)

    A woman with this syndrome may develop breast cancer before age 50 and is at higher risk for developing cancer in both breasts or in both the breasts and ovaries.

  • Genetics of Breast Cancer

    Detailed information on the genetics of breast cancer, including information on hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome, brca1, brca2, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, and ataxia telangiectasia

  • Cowden Syndrome

    The risk for breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, and thyroid cancer is increased with Cowden syndrome, a rare genetic disorder.

  • Breast Cancer Overview
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T)

    The risk for breast cancer may be increased for women who carry the A-T gene. Ataxia telangiectasia is a rare childhood disease that affects the nervous system and other body systems.

  • Fibrocystic Breast Changes

    Detailed information on common fibrocystic breast changes, including what fibrocystic changes feel like