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- More information on breast cancer in English
- Más recursos en español (Additional resources in Spanish)
Cancer is a disease in which cells become abnormal and form more cells in an uncontrolled way. With breast cancer, the cancer begins in the tissues that make up the breasts. The cancer cells may form a mass called a tumor. Getting a mammogram (x-ray of the breast) can help find the cancer early. This gives a woman more treatment options and makes it more likely she will survive the cancer.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Latinas. Even though Latinas have lower breast cancer rates than white women, they are more likely than whites to be diagnosed at a later stage, when the cancer is more advanced and harder to treat. Yet, even with early diagnosis, Latinas are more likely to have tumors that are larger and harder to treat than white women. They also seem to get breast cancer at younger ages. Researchers do not know why these differences happen.
We do not know how to prevent breast cancer. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk, such as limiting how much alcohol you drink and being physically active.
There also are things you can do to find breast cancer early. Breast cancer screening looks for signs of cancer before a woman has symptoms. Screening can help find breast cancer early when it's most treatable. Two tests are commonly used to screen for breast cancer:
- Mammograms. A safe, low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. Starting at age 40, women should have screening mammograms every 1-2 years. Depending on factors such as family history and your general health, your doctor may recommend a mammogram before age 40.
- Clinical breast exam (CBE). The doctor looks at and feels the breasts and under the arms for lumps or anything else that seems unusual. Ask your doctor if you need a CBE.
Regular screening is the best way to find breast cancer early in most women. If you are at higher risk you may need mammograms at an earlier age or more often. Or, your doctor might want to use other tests too. Let your doctor know if you find a change in your breast, such as a lump or nipple discharge that isn't breast milk.
Some women do not get regular mammograms because of cost and lack of insurance. Yet there are free and low-cost programs to help women get breast cancer screening. You can learn more by contacting the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
Read more from womenshealth.gov
Breast Cancer Fact Sheet — This fact sheet provides information on why women should be concerned about breast cancer and gives resources for more information.
Explore other publications and websites
Breast Cancer Racial and Ethnic Differences (Copyright © Susan G. Komen Foundation) — Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the United States. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among nearly every racial and ethnic group, including African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian, and Hispanic women. The rates of developing and dying from the disease differ among ethnic groups, and this publication discusses these differences.
Cancer Health Disparities — This on-line fact sheet gives a brief overview of the currently available data on cancer health disparities among racial and ethnic groups. It also summarizes some NCI research projects and initiatives designed to understand and eventually eliminate these disparities.
Caregivers of Women Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer (Copyright © CancerCare) — This booklet is a guide to helping your loved one with metastatic breast cancer while still taking care of yourself. It also discusses how you and other caregivers can get the support you need.
Facts and Statistics About Breast Cancer in the United States: Year 2009 (Copyright © National Breast Cancer Coalition) — This fact sheet discusses breast cancer rates in the United States and how they have changed in the last few decades.
Hispanic Breast Cancer Differences Persist With Equal Access to Care — This publication discusses the results from a study published in 2007 that found that despite equal access to health care services, differences persist in the size, stage, and grade of breast cancer for Hispanic women compared with non-Hispanic white women.
Mammograms — This fact sheet explains how screening mammograms differ from diagnostic mammograms. It also explains the benefits and limitations of screening mammography, as well as recommendations for when a woman should begin and how frequently she should have screening mammograms.
Understanding Breast Changes: A Health Guide for Women — This booklet explains normal, age-related breast changes you may experience throughout your life and how they differ from changes that indicate breast cancer. It also discusses mammograms and maintaining your breast health.
What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer — This information summary is designed for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and who are about to undergo treatment.
Connect with other organizations
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
American Cancer Society
Intercultural Cancer Council
National Alliance for Hispanic Health
National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, CDC
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Explore otras publicaciones y sitios de Internet
Mamografías selectivas de detección: preguntas y respuestas — Esta hoja de datos contiene información sobre mamografía selectiva de detección y mamografía de diagnóstico. También ofrece datos sobre el cáncer del seno y los factores de riesgo.
Las primeras etapas del cáncer del seno: ¿Cuáles son sus opciones si tiene que operarse? — Este libreto/libro está escrito para la mujer que tiene un estado inicial de cáncer del seno. Describe los tipos de cirugía que se usan para el tratamiento de este tipo de cáncer.
Lo que usted necesita saber sobre el cáncer de seno — Este folleto contiene información sobre el cáncer de seno, los síntomas, el tratamiento, la diagnosis, y preguntas para el cuidado médico. También incluye un glosario de términos sobre el cáncer de seno y otros recursos.
Conéctese con otras organizaciones
Administración de Drogas y Alimentos
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS en español
Cancer.gov en Español
Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, HHS
Sociedad Americana del Cáncer
Content last updated May 18, 2010.
Resources last updated May 18, 2010.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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