Quick Facts: Breast Cancer

What is breast cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer that begins in the breast is called breast cancer. Both men and women can get breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer – except for skin cancer – in American women and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

Sometimes there are no obvious symptoms of breast cancer, especially during earlier stages.  So, it is important to have yearly screening mammograms.  However, some of the symptoms that may develop as the cancer grows include:

  • A breast lump or thickening
  • Bloody discharge from the nipple
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Changes to the skin such as dimpling
  • Inverted nipple
  • Peeling, scaling or flaking of the nipple or breast skin
  • Swelling in the armpit

If you feel a lump in your breast, make an appointment with your doctor. Not all lumps are cancerous, but it is important to make sure.

What are potential complications of breast cancer surgery?

Breast cancer can lead to various complications including:

  • Lymphedema or arm swelling—lymphedema’s first signs are a feeling of tightness or swelling in the hand or arm
  • Osteoporosis—hormone therapy used to treat breast cancer may contribute to osteoporosis or bone thinnin

What can I do to help prevent breast cancer?

Sometimes, breast cancer cannot be prevented.  However, it is important to have a healthy lifestyle:

  • Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Don’t smoke
  • Breast feed
  • Limit exposure to radiation and pollution

What are the treatments for breast cancer?

Breast cancer treatment is based on each individual’s type of cancer, its stage and grade, whether it is sensitive to hormones, and your overall health.

Most people have surgery for breast cancer and also have additional treatment, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

What are the breast cancer rates in the U.S.?

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 296,980 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2013.

What are the breast cancer rates in Prince George’s County?

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® reports that there are 120 incidence of breast cancer per 100,000 Prince George’s County residents. 

How does Doctors Community Hospital help people who have breast cancer?

Our Center for Comprehensive Breast Care is the first such center in Prince George’s County. Our multidisciplinary team provides complete and compassionate diagnostic and breast cancer treatment  including an experienced team of healthcare professionals, all digital mammograms and personalized treatment options. 

Learn more about our Center for Comprehensive Breast Care.