Understanding Breast Cancer

Making sense of the complex world of breast cancer can be overwhelming. Whether you are facing a personal diagnosis or that of a friend or loved one, there are many steps you can take to help you better understand the many faces of this disease. Learn about your personal risk and ways to take an active role in your breast health.  Read about being a survivor, or offering support to a breast cancer survivor. Find local resources available to assist you. Becoming informed and empowered is the first step in battling this disease.

Click here to use our interactive tutorial to better understand the development of breast cancer, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment options.

Four simple steps for early detection   

Know your risk
: Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors. Talk with your family to learn about your family health history.

Get screened: Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40, and clinical breast exams at least every 3 years starting at age 20 and every year starting at 40. Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at higher risk for breast cancer.

Know what is normal for you
: Know how your breasts look and feel. Report any changes to your doctor. If you notice any lumps, redness, warmth, dimpling, or puckering, tell your doctor.

Make healthy lifestyle choices
: Be sure to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and limit your alcohol intake.

Make these actions part of your life.
You are the cure.

Women with a family history of breast cancer or other concerns about their personal risk should consult with a health care provider. Screening tests may need to be done more often and/or started earlier than usual.

As part of a total approach to breast health, women should be familiar with their own bodies, play an active role in their health, and develop a close partnership with their health care providers.

Empower yourself with knowledge.