American Cancer Society: Breast Cancer


American Cancer Society: Breast Cancer


This 106-page guide from the American Cancer Society provides detailed information about breast cancer, including information on risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

This guide addresses the following topics:

  • What is cancer?
  • What is breast cancer?
    • Normal breast structure
    • Benign breast lumps
    • Breast cancer general terms
    • Types of breast cancers
  • What are the key statistics about breast cancer?
  • What are the risk factors for breast cancer?
    • Risk factors you cannot change
    • Lifestyle-related factors and breast cancer
    • Factors with uncertain, controversial, or unproven effect on breast cancer risk
  • Do we know what causes breast cancer?
  • Can breast cancer be prevented?
    • For women who may be at increased risk
  • Can breast cancer be found early?
    • American Cancer Society recommendations for early breast cancer detection
    • Mammograms
    • Clinical breast exam
    • Breast awareness and self exam
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • How is breast cancer diagnosed?
    • Signs and symptoms
    • Medical history and physical exam
    • Imaging tests used to evaluate breast disease
    • Other tests
    • Biopsy
    • Laboratory examination of breast cancer tissue
  • How is breast cancer staged?
    • Imaging tests to look for breast cancer spread
    • The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM (Tumor, Nodes, Metastasis) system
    • Breast cancer survival rates by stage
  • How is breast cancer treated?
    • General types of treatment
    • Surgery for breast cancer
    • Radiation therapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Hormone therapy
    • Targeted therapy
    • Bisphosphonates
    • High-dose chemotherapy with bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant
    • Clinical trials
    • Complementary and alternative therapies
    • Treatment of stage 0 (noninvasive) breast cancer
    • Treatment of invasive breast cancer by stage
    • Treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy
    • More treatment information
  • What should you ask your doctor about breast cancer?
  • What happens after treatment for breast cancer?
    • Followup care
    • Lymphedema
    • Quality of life
    • Emotional aspects of breast cancer
    • Body image
    • Sexuality
    • Pregnancy after breast cancer
    • Postmenopausal hormone therapy after breast cancer
    • Seeing a new doctor
    • Lifestyle changes to consider during and after treatment
    • What happens if treatment is no longer working?
  • What’s new in breast cancer research and treatment?
    • Causes of breast cancer
    • Gene expression studies and new breast cancer classifications
    • Chemoprevention
    • Newer imaging tests
    • MRI-assisted breast biopsy
    • Treatment
  • Additional resources


American Cancer Society

Funding Sources:

American Cancer Society


Release Date: 2004
Review Date: 2006
Recent Summary: August 2006
Original Summary: October 2004
Last Updated: 12/19/12

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