Breast cancer - female - patient education

Breast cancer - female - patient education

Oak Valley Health's patient education pages share the skills, knowledge, and habits patients and families need to know to cope with a daily health issue. We hope this information can influence patient behaviour to improve health outcomes and provide you with a sense of control and autonomy.

Learn more about the risks, causes, and treatment of breast cancer

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is a tumor that develops in the breast. Malignant tumors are cancerous and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. The two most common types of breast cancer begin in the milk ducts or the lobules of the breast where milk is produced. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women.

What can cause breast cancer?
  • Genetic factors
What increases the risks?
  • Fifty years of age or older
  • Caucasian or African-American
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • You have had breast cancer in the past
  • You have the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes
  • You are obese
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Started menopause after 55
  • Started your menstrual periods before the age of 12
  • Have never been pregnant or had your first child after age 30
  • You have never breastfed
  • The use of hormone therapy
  • Birth control pills
  • You drink more than one alcoholic drink a day
How do I know that I have breast cancer?
  • A painless lump or thickening in your breast
  • Changes in size or shape of breast
  • Breast skin changes
  • Nipple abnormalities
How is this treated?
  • Surgery (lumpectomy, partial mastectomy, or mastectomy)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapy
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, please contact your doctor or health care provider immediately if you are experiencing any of the following:
  • increase in pain
  • losing weight
  • noticed a new lump
  • have developed swelling in arms or hands
  • have a fever
  • becoming more weak and tried
If you have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, please get help immediately if you are experiencing any of the following:
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • You faint
Where can I get more information?

References: Breast Cancer, Female. (2021, May 27). Elsevier Inc: ClinicalKey for Nursing. Retrieved from here.