Patient & Visitor InformationContact Us
  • Treatment Locations

    Rhode Island Hospital

    APC Building

    Providence, RI 02903

    866-401-0002

    . . . . . .

    The Miriam Hospital

    164 Summit Avenue

    Providence, RI 02906

    866-401-0002

  • About Breast Cancer

  • Breast cancer is a cancer that forms in the cells of the breast. It develops in the breast tissue, which has many parts. Milk-producing glands connect to the nipple through narrow ducts, which are supported by fat and fibrous material, or connective tissue. The rest of the breast tissue is made up of blood vessels, nerves and channels to the lymph nodes.

    Cancer cells most commonly form in the milk glands and ducts of the breast. When several cancer cells accumulate, they form a mass of tissue known as a lump, growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous).


    Benign tumors:

    • Are rarely life-threatening

    • Can be removed and typically don't grow back

    • Don't invade surrounding tissue

    • Don't spread throughout the body

     
    Malignant tumors:

    • May be life-threatening

    • Many times can be removed, but can grow back

    • Can invade and harm surrounding tissue and organs

    • Can spread throughout the body

     

    While not common, benign growths can become premalignant. If you feel a lump, have it examined by your doctor.

    As with any cancer, cells can break from the original tumor and spread to other areas of the body. The spreading of cancer cells is known as metastasis.