Merideth Wendland, MD

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States (other than skin cancer). Each year in the United States, approximately 233,000 women and 2,400 men are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Cancer occurs when there is uncontrolled division of abnormal cells. In this case, within the breast tissue. Scientists believe that cancer is caused by a combination of known and unknown factors. The National Cancer Institute and studies identify lifestyle factors that can increase the risk of breast cancer, including diet, alcohol, physical activity, obesity and environmental factors.

The strongest risk factor, however, is age: As women get older, their chances of developing breast cancer increases.

Genetically, a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is greatly increased if she inherits the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene mutation. Changes in other genes are also associated with breast cancer, but they are much less common.

Review the important information you’ll find here about diagnosis, staging, treatment and reconstruction, and then request an appointment by clicking the Request an Appointment button. Or write down your questions to review them with your cancer care team at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center about your individual situation.

For additional reading, information about side effects of treatments and more, visit the National Cancer Institute.

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