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Understanding Breast Cancer for Nurses

Updated: May 23, 2022

Ok so by now, you should have a good understanding of the Nursing Assessment and how Breast Disorders are diagnosed. If you don’t know these things yet, then take a step back and read: Nursing Assessment of Breast Disorders.

If you’ve already been through that article then great, let’s move on to learn about the different types of Breast Disorders. Specifically, Benign Breast Disorders and Malignant Breast Disorders.

Benign Breast Disorders

Firstly, a Benign Disease or Benign Tumour is an abnormal growth of cells, but it is NOT Cancerous. This means that it cannot metastasise (spread) to other parts of the body, however, if left untreated, it can increase the risk of developing breast cancer. In many cases, the medical team opts for surgical removal of the abnormal cells. Having said that, ongoing research might challenge this method in future practice.

The 2 most common types of Benign Breast Disorders are:

Malignant Breast Disorders

Similar to Benign tumours, Malignant tumours are an abnormal growth of cells. However, Malignant tumours are harmful as they can metastasise and invade other organs. Malignant breast cancers are classified as:

Risk Factors

Currently, there is no simple answer to what causes Breast Cancer; however, studies suggest that genetics, hormones, and environmental factors all play a role in its development. Only 5-10% of all breast cancers are genetic, and these cases have been linked to a mutation in the BRCA gene.

Patients who test positive for the BRCA gene mutation are encouraged to perform regular screening tests.

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