What is Breast Cancer?

Reading time: 4 min

Breast cancer is the most common tumor in women in Spain. It is estimated that one in eight will suffer from breast cancer throughout their lives. But it is not only female: male breast cancer accounts for 2% of all cases of this cancer. It is one of the tumors with better prognosis and higher rates of survival and chronification, thanks to the social awareness about its early detection.

The term cancer encompasses a very large group of illnesses that are all characterised by abnormal cell growth; cancer cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled manner and in any part of the body. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that originates in breast tissue.

Tumours initially arise and grow inside milk ducts.

  • Intraductal carcinoma. If the malignant cells are contained within the duct and do not spread outside it, then it produces what is known as an intraductal carcinoma or ductal carcinoma in situ. The cells forming this type of cancer do not invade the surrounding mammary tissue, nor do they manage to affect the lymph nodes or other organs.
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma. The tumour breaks through the walls of the milk duct and therefore cancerous cells can enter into the bloodstream or lymphatic vessels.

How many people does it affect?

Breast cancer is one of the most commonly occurring malignant tumours in women worldwide. In Spain, it affects more women than any other cancer and represents 29% of all cancers.

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some time during their lives.

While the breast cancer mortality rate has decreased in recent years, thanks to screening programmes and treatment advances, it is still the leading cause of cancer-related death in Spanish women.

The age of maximum incidence occurs in women over 50 years, but approximately 10% of cases are diagnosed in patients below the age of 40.

Breast Cancer explained in first person

Appointment of Aleix Prat, Oncologist
Breast cancer is a disease and even though it is a cancer, the majority of cases are cured.
Appointment of Ana, Patient
L'actitud positiva i la confiança en l'equip mèdic, és fonamental per seguir endavant. Perquè no estàs sola.

What is Cancer?

General information about Cancer

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Substantiated information by:

Aleix Prat Aparicio
Ana Rodríguez García
Bárbara Ádamo
Montserrat Muñoz Mateu

Published: 20 February 2018
Updated: 20 February 2018

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


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