What Is Breast Cancer?

What Is Breast Cancer?

The breast is the tissue covering the chest muscles and wall. A woman’s breast is made of glandular and fatty tissue, lymph tissue, nerves, veins, arteries, and connective tissue that holds everything together. The glandular tissue includes lobes and lobules that are connected by milk ducts, which act as stems or tubes to carry the milk to the nipple.

Breast cancer is a result of the cells in the breast becoming abnormal and growing uncontrollably. The uncontrolled growth forms a tumor, usually felt as a lump or seen in an X-ray. The tumor is cancerous or malignant if the cells can penetrate surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to remote areas of the body.

Breast cancer mostly affects women over 40, but men can have it too. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, just behind lung cancer. However, there are more than 2.8 million cancer survivors in the U.S. The American Cancer Society estimates that almost a quarter of a million women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year.  Orange County Cyberknife and Radiation Oncology Center, the premier cancer treatment center in Orange County, offers several breast cancer treatments depending on the stage of cancer. Treatment may consist of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Doctors have established many risk factors connected with the development of breast cancer. However, the links between these factors and women who develop breast cancer is still unclear. Besides being a woman and getting older, hormone levels seem to play a major part in the development of breast cancer, but it is not clear to what extent.

Cells become cancerous in a woman’s breast when her DNA is changed or mutated. DNA is a complex molecule that carries the information that makes a living organism function. It is the chemical in our body that makes up our genes, which can tell our cells when to grow, divide or die. Sometimes these mutations are inherited. Oftentimes, however, your DNA is changed throughout your life, possibly through prior exposure to radiation or cancer-causing chemicals.

While you cannot control your family history, other lifestyle choices you can control are shown to increase your risk of breast cancer including:

  • Drinking an average of two to five alcoholic beverages daily
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Using oral contraceptives (this risk goes away over time after you stop using them)
  • Not having children or having first child after 30
  • Hormone therapy

Find Out More By Contacting Us Today

Here at Orange County Cyberknife, we want you to know that our doctors are here to help you find the best treatment option available to you at our comprehensive facility. Use these links to find out more about breast cancer:

You can also contact us today by calling (714) 962-7100 with your questions. Our team of internationally renowned radiotherapy and radiosurgery specialists have years of experience in treating tumors throughout the body using the latest and greatest in non-surgical and non-invasive radiation therapy systems available. Orange County CyberKnife is your comprehensive cancer center in Southern California that offers multiple advanced radiation treatments, including the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery system. You can trust us to help choose a treatment option that is right for you.