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What Is Breast Cancer?
When cells in the breast begin to grow in an uncontrolled manner, we call them malignant. This growth process begins very slowly, and it may take as long as ten years before the cells have grown into a lump that can be detected in a physical exam. Although cancer growth starts slowly, it usually accelerates at an ever-increasing rate.

If you or your doctor detect a cancerous lump at an early stage of its development, the chances of complete recovery are excellent. But if a cancerous lump isn't detected early, it can metastasize, or send cancer cells through your bloodstream and lymph nodes to attack other parts of your body.