Choosing to have surgery is an important decision.
So is selecting a surgeon.
The UK Surgeon Guide (UKSG), established in 2014, is the most comprehensive surgery speciality organization in the UK.
Whether you’re considering urology or key hole surgery, you need the skill of a fully accredited Surgeon—a doctor with more than six years of surgical training and experience, with at least three years specifically in the field of surgery. Their training and experience make them uniquely qualified to perform your particular procedure.
One of the first steps you can take towards a successful procedure is to become an educated consumer.
Read about patient safety and how to make smart choices about your surgeon and the facilities where your procedure will be performed. Browse through before and after photos to see the kinds of improvements surgical and minimally invasive procedures can make. Watch videos about specific procedures and the latest developments in research. And learn from the experience of others in our Patient Stories section.
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women during their lives, and many of us know someone — a mother, sister, friend — who has had it. It is the second-leading cancer killer of women in the United States, next to lung cancer. Thanks to screening, breast cancer often can be found early, when the chance of successful treatment is best. In fact, many women are even cured of the disease.
What is breast cancer?
A woman’s breast is made of glandular tissue, connective tissue, fatty tissue, blood vessels, lymph tissue, and nerves. Each breast contains up to 20 sections of glandular tissue called lobes. Each lobe has many smaller sections called lobules, where milk is made. Milk flows from the lobules through thin tubes called ducts to the nipple. The nipple is the small, raised area at the tip of the breast. The areola is the area of darker-colored skin around the nipple.
Each breast also contains lymph vessels. These are thin tubes that carry lymph to small, bean-shaped glands called lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are found near the breast, under the arm, and throughout the body. Lymph nodes and lymph vessels are part of the lymph system, which helps your body fight disease and infection. The chest muscle and chest wall are behind the breasts.
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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. (Note: Not all tumors are cancer.) They may also invade nearby tissue and spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body. The most common types of breast cancer are:
Ductal carcinoma – Cancer that begins in the ducts and grows into surrounding tissues. About 8 in 10 breast cancers are this type.
Lobular carcinoma (LAH-byuh-luhr KAR-sih-NOH-muh) – Cancer that begins in lobules and grows into surrounding tissues. About 1 in 10 breast cancers are this type.
With routine screening, breast cancer often can be found at an early stage, before the cancer has spread.
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More information on What is breast cancer?
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.
Early-stage Breast Cancer Treatment Fact Sheet – This fact sheet addresses questions that women commonly have about breast cancer and its treatment. It explains the two surgical options used to treat early-stage breast cancer and lists resources for patients seeking more information.
Mammograms Fact Sheet – This fact sheet discusses the different types of mammograms available, explains how often a woman should get them, and gives facts about their safety and effectiveness.
Explore other publications and websites
Breast Cancer – This publication provides general information about breast cancer, including risk factors, screening methods, diagnosis, staging, and treatment. It also gives information on recent breast cancer research.
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.
Breast cancer symptoms
A lump in or near your breast or under your arm
Thick or firm tissue in or near your breast or under your arm
A change in the size or shape of your breast
Breast cancer risk factors and prevention
Factors that affect a woman’s risk of breast cancer
Ways to lower your breast cancer risk
Breast cancer in men
Screening and diagnosis: Mammogram, clinical breast exam, and other tests
Breast cancer screening
Diagnosing breast cancer
Breast cancer treatment
Types of treatment
Help and support
Government in action on breast cancer
National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program
National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service
Fact sheets to search for:
Early-stage breast cancer treatment
Stress and your health
To learn more about breast cancer treatment, you can speak with a National Cancer Specialist.
Some women do not get regular mammograms because of lack of awareness. Learn about free breast cancer screening programs from your GP or by contacting the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.