Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in Singapore today. 1 out of every 13 women in Singapore is likely to be afflicted by breast cancer, with more than new cases diagnosed every year.
Normal cells divide and reproduce in an orderly manner. Your body relies on this orderly activity to repair injuries and replace wornout tissue. Sometimes this orderly process is disrupted. Cells grow and divide out of control, producing extra tissue to form a mass or lump called a tumour. A tumour can be benign or malignant.
Benign tumours are not cancers. They may grow slowly but do not spread to other parts of the body.
Malignant tumours are cancerous growths and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body.
Breast cancer is a malignant tumour which occurs when breast cells become abnormal and divide without control or order.
The majority of breast cancers start in the milk ducts. A small number start in the milk sacs or lobules. Within these two groups, some grow very slowly while others develop more rapidly.
Breast cancer can spread to the lymph nodes and to other parts of the body such as the bones, liver, lung and sometimes to the brain.