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Finding Out You Have Breast Cancer

You’ve just been told, “You have breast cancer.” That’s scary to hear. However, the outlook for people who have breast cancer has improved significantly in recent decades. Knowledge is powerful and can help make a difference in how you handle your experience with cancer.

Every person who has recently been told that they have breast cancer has certain questions--many of them are likely to be the same as yours: What is breast cancer? Will I survive? Was my diagnosis correct? What are my treatment choices? How do I choose the best doctor? Getting answers to these questions can help ease your fears.

We’re here to help. Our goal is to give you the information you need so that you can work with your health care team to make the best choices about your treatment and care. Our goal is to help you face cancer with confidence.

The first step is to learn more about breast cancer and your diagnosis.

What is breast cancer?

Our bodies are made up of tiny building blocks called cells. Normal cells grow and multiply when the body needs them and die out when they are no longer needed. This is how balance is maintained. However, some cells go through a series of changes, called mutations, and the “switch” that tells the cells to die is turned off, or the "switch" that tells the cells to grow is turned on. These cells become cancerous. Cancerous cells are called malignant cells. Cancer occurs when cells multiply constantly, whether they are needed or not. In most cancers the abnormal cells grow and form a lump called a tumor. Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the breast.