Bookmark and Share
Home > All About Cancer > Cancer Fact Sheets > Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer

Diagnosis | Treatment | Questions

The Breast

The breasts are made up of fat, connective tissue and gland tissue
A network of ducts spreads from the lobes towards the nipple
When a woman is pregnant, the breasts produce milk to feed the baby

Under the skin, a 'tail' of breast tissue extends into the armpit (axilla). The armpit also contains a collection of lymph glands which is part of the lymphatic system.

Breast Tumours (lumps)

Nine out of 10 breast lumps are benign and are not cancerous
Most benign breast lumps are cysts. These are sacs of fluid which build up in the breast tissue
Another common benign breast lump is fibroadenoma - a collection of fibrous glandular tissue. Benign breast lumps are easily treated
Men can develop breast cancer but it is 100 times less common than in women.

If you notice a lump in your breast, please visit your doctor. Anything unusual should always be examined, because even though most breast lumps are benign, they still need to be checked to rule out the possibility of cancer. Also, if it is cancer, the earlier the treatment, the better the chances of recovery.

Breast Cancer Symptoms
These are the signs you should be aware of:

A lump, lumpiness or thickening
Changes in the skin, such as puckering, dimpling or a rash
Persistent or unusual pain
A change in the shape or size of a breast
Discharge from a nipple, a nipple rash or a change in its shape

Pain in your breast is not usually a symptom of breast cancer. In fact, many healthy women find their breasts feel lumpy and tender before a period, and some types of benign breast lumps are painful.

Breast Cancer in Hong Kong
Breast Cancer in Hong Kong
Click to view the latest statistics.

Early Detection (screening)
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of recovery.

Mammography can detect changes in the breast tissue before they develop into a lump large enough to be easily felt with fingers.

Nevertheless more than 90% of breast tumours are first detected by women themselves.

Common Ways to Detect Breast Cancer :

Breast self-examination
Become familiar with how your breasts normally feel, at different times of the month. You will then quickly be aware if there are any changes in your breasts that are not normal to you.
Mammograms (breast X-rays) can often detect cancer before it can be felt, and for women over the age of 50, this is the best method of detection.
Ultrasound uses sound waves to build up a picture of the breast tissue and can show if an abnormal area is solid (made of cells) or is a fluid-filled cyst.