Breast Cancer: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
woman on the beach looking worried, possibly because of a breast cancer diagnosis

In a woman’s breast, there are 12 to 20 sections of tissue, called lobes, which surround the nipple like petals on a flower. Each lobe contains several glands, where milk is produced. The glands are connected by ducts that transport the milk to the nipple. Breast cancer typically starts in one of these structures, after a change in the DNA causes abnormal cells to grow.

Current statistics suggest that breast cancer will affect 1 in every 8 women in the United States, and, though it’s rare, the disease also affects some men. Fortunately, methods for detecting and treating breast cancer are continually improving. Today, patients may be offered a range of treatment options to suit their goals and needs.

“Breast cancer is the most well-researched cancer,” says Yale Medicine breast surgeon Danielle Bertoni, MD. She wants women to know that breast cancer has a very good prognosis. “Survival rates are very, very good for breast cancer,” she says. “Most breast cancer is curable and treatable. Even women with stage IV breast cancer can often live for many years.”