About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a type of cancer where cells in the breast tissue divide and grow without normal control. It is a widespread and random disease, striking women and men of all ages and races. It is estimated that more than 1.6 million new cases of breast cancer occurred among women worldwide in 2010. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, and at this time, there is no cure.

But there is hope. Thanks to heightened awareness, early detection through screening, improved treatment methods and increased access to breast health services, people have a greater chance of survival than ever before.

The Susan G. Komen® national website, www.komen.org, offers comprehensive information about breast cancer risk factors, early detection and screening, diagnosis and treatment. Developed in conjunction with the Harvard School of Public Health, the site offers a one-stop resource for all the latest information on the disease.

Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Susan G. Komen® recommends that you:

1. Know your risk

  • Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

2. Get screened

  • Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40

3. Know what is normal for you
See your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes:

  • Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
  • Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
  • New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Add exercise into your routine
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Limit postmenopausal hormone use
  • Breastfeed, if you can

Breast Self-Awareness Cards
Susan G. Komen® offers a variety of breast self-awareness cards in different languages and for specific populations. You can download and print these cards for yourself.