Breast cancer usually begins as a lump that can be seen in a mammogram or felt when the breast is examined. Fortunately, the majority of breast lumps are non-malignant cysts or fibrous tissue. But sometimes lumps are formed when good cells turn bad and start multiplying rapidly to form a tumor.
The exact causes of these malignant mutations are unknown, so it is impossible to predict accurately who will develop them. However, risk-factors that increase the probability of developing the disease include a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, increasing age, never having breastfed, never having given birth, long-term hormone replacement therapy, and smoking. (Men can get breast cancer, too. There is a small amount of breast tissue, consisting mainly of ducts, in the male chest, and about 1% of breast cancers occur in men.)
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