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What is Breast Cancer

What is Breast Cancer?

The cell is the basic building block of the body, making up all of our tissues and organs. As cells grow old and wear out, new ones replace them. This process is called cell division.

The balance between dying and growing cells is vital to maintain the normal functioning of our bodies. If the number of growing cells exceeds the number of dying cells, then a lump (or tumour) will develop. If the cells in the tumour divide haphazardly and grow in an aggressive manner, this is called a cancer or malignant tumour. Malignant cells have the potential of invading adjacent tissues and can spread to other parts of the body some distance away from the main (or primary) tumour. This process of distant spread is called metastasis. It can occur through the blood stream or the lymph vessels. A breast cancer occurs when the cells of the milk glands or the milk ducts grow and divide in a disorderly manner. This may be detected as a lump in the breast. It can take months or years for a tumour of 1 cm in diameter to grow in the breast. It is estimated that a tumour of this size contains one billion breast cancer cells!

To make an appointment or to speak to the breast care team call us on 020 7908 2004