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HomeBreast Cancer Main Page

 

Breast Cancer Main Page


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A breast is made up of three main parts: glands, ducts, and connective tissue. The glands produce milk. The ducts are passages that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) connects and holds everything together.


                                                               

 
 

Lumps in the Breast


Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.

What Is a Normal Breast?


No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age.
Once known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes develops when the immune system destroys the body's ability to produce insulin.



What Are the Symptoms?


Different people have different warning signs for breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all. A person may find out they have breast cancer after a routine mammogram.

Some warning signs of breast cancer are—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that some of these warning signs can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

Are There Different Kinds of Breast Cancer?

There are different kinds of breast cancer. The kind of breast cancer depends on which cells in the breast turn
into cancer. Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast, like the ducts or the lobes.

Common Kinds of Breast Cancer

Common kinds of breast cancer are—

  • Ductal carcinoma. The most common kind of breast cancer. It begins in the cells that line the milk ducts
    in the breast, also called the lining of the breast ducts.
    • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The abnormal cancer cells are only in the lining of the milk ducts,
      and have not spread to other tissues in the breast.
    • Invasive ductal carcinoma. The abnormal cancer cells break through the ducts and spread into other
      parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
  • Lobular carcinoma. In this kind of breast cancer, the cancer cells begin in the lobes, or lobules, of the breast.
    Lobules are the glands that make milk.
    • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). The cancer cells are found only in the breast lobules. Lobular carcinoma
      in situ, or LCIS, does not spread to other tissues.
    • Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by.
      These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.

Uncommon Kinds of Breast Cancer

There are several other less common kinds of breast cancer, such as Paget's diseaseExternal Web Site Icon or inflammatory breast cancer.External Web Site Icon


What Are the Symptoms?

Different people have different warning signs for breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms
at all. A person may find out they have breast cancer after a routine mammogram.

Some warning signs of breast cancer are—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that some of these warning signs can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.


What Are the Risk Factors?

Research has found several risk factors that may increase your chances of getting breast cancer.


Reproductive Risk Factors

  • Being younger when you first had your menstrual period.
  • Starting menopause at a later age.
  • Being older at the birth of your first child.
  • Never giving birth.
  • Not breastfeeding.
  • Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy.External Web Site Icon

Other Risk Factors

  • Getting older.
  • Personal history of breast cancer or some non-cancerous breast diseases.
  • Family history of breast cancer (mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, or son).
  • Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.
  • Dense breastsExternal Web Site Icon by mammogram.
  • Being overweight (increases risk for breast cancer after menopause).
  • Having changes in the breast cancer-related genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
  • Drinking alcohol (more than one drink a day).
  • Not getting regular exercise.

Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease. Most women have some risk factors and most
women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you
can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.