Glossary

Term

Description

Breast Cancer Cancer is the name for a group of diseases that develop when the body’s cells grow in an uncontrolled way and spread into the body’s tissues. Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the breast tissue
Advanced Cancer Cancer that has moved from the original site (e.g. the breast), and spread to other parts of the body (e.g. organs, bones). There is currently no cure for advanced cancer. This type of cancer is also called secondary cancer or metastatic cancer
Benign A breast lump that is ‘benign’ is harmless
Incidence Rates The ratio of the number of new cases of breast cancer in a population
Malignant A malignant tumour or lump is made up of cancer cells. A person with a malignant tumour has cancer
Metastatic Cancer See 'Advanced Cancer'
Mortality Rate The ratio of deaths resulting from breast cancer in a population
Secondary Cancer See 'Advanced Cancer'
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) Non-invasive breast cancer that is confined to the ducts of the breast
Lobular Carcinoma In Situ (LCIS) Non-invasive breast cancer that is confined to the lobules of the breast
Mammogram A screening mammogram is a low dose X-ray of a woman’s breast
Ultrasound A way of producing a picture of the inside of the body using sound waves
Strong Family History The significance of a family history of breast cancer increases with:
• the number of family members affected
• the younger their ages at diagnosis
• the closer the affected relatives are related to you.
The increase in risk is fairly small unless there are three or more first or second-degree relatives on the same side of the family with breast or ovarian cancer. It is important to note that a family history on your father’s side is just as important as it is on your mother’s side of the family.
Despite the importance of family history as a risk factor, eight out of nine women who develop breast cancer do not have an affected mother, sister, or daughter.
Atypical Hyperplasia A precancerous condition that affects cells in the breast. Atypical hyperplasia describes an accumulation of abnormal cells in a breast duct (atypical ductal hyperplasia) or lobule (atypical lobular hyperplasia).
Atypical hyperplasia isn't cancer, but it can be a forerunner to the development of breast cancer. Over the course of your lifetime, if the atypical hyperplasia cells keep dividing and become more abnormal, your condition may be reclassified as carcinoma in situ or noninvasive breast cancer.
Biopsy A sample of tissue that is examined in a laboratory, in this case for signs of breast cancer.