Breast cancer


Early detection saves lives

Although the exact cause of breast cancer is not known, most experts agree that there are several factors that increase your risk, such as genetics, age, sex, and race.

You can control some risk factors, but not all can be avoided. Learn about ways to decrease your chance of developing breast cancer.

Screening and early detection

Your best defense against breast cancer is early detection. Breast cancer is most treatable when it's found early.

Read our preventive care guidelines or talk with your doctor to find out when you should have a mammogram and clinical breast exam.

A breast self-exam can help detect changes to your breasts. If you find a lump or other unusual change, make an appointment with your doctor to have it checked.


Breast cancer is usually treated with surgery, medications, and radiation therapy. Because of improved screening methods, diagnosis at an early stage, and improved treatment techniques, the number of deaths from breast cancer has been steadily declining over the past few years. Learn more about treatment options.

Other resources

American Cancer SocietyKaiser Permanente is not responsible for the content or policies of external Internet sites.
National Cancer InstituteKaiser Permanente is not responsible for the content or policies of external Internet sites.

Learn more about breast cancer or breast cancer that has come back after treatment or spread to other parts of the body.

Reviewed by: Kate Christensen, MD, October 2011

© 2011 Kaiser Permanente

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