What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the breast tissue. Find out about who gets breast cancer and where it starts.

Symptoms of breast cancer

Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump or thickening in the breast. Find out more about this and other possible symptoms and when you should see your GP.

Getting diagnosed with breast cancer

You usually start by seeing your GP. Or you may have had changes picked up through breast screening. Find out about being referred to a breast clinic and the tests you might have.

Survival for breast cancer

Survival is generally very good for breast cancer, particularly if you are diagnosed early. This is probably because of screening, early diagnosis and improved treatment. Find out more. 

Treatment for breast cancer

Treatment for breast cancer depends on a number of factors. Find out about breast cancer treatments, where and how you have them, and how to cope with possible side effects.

Stages and grades of breast cancer

Get information about how doctors stage and grade breast cancer. In the UK, doctors use the TNM system to stage breast cancer. You may also be told about the number staging system.

Types of breast cancer and related breast conditions

There are different types of breast cancer and breast conditions, including breast cancer in men, and conditions related to breast cancer. Find out more about the different types.

Secondary breast cancer

Secondary breast cancer means that a cancer that began in the breast has spread to another part of the body such as the bones or lungs.

Research and clinical trials for breast cancer

Research is looking into all aspects of breast cancer. Find out about the latest UK breast cancer research and clinical trials, and how you can take part.

Living with breast cancer

Get practical, physical and emotional support to help you cope with a diagnosis of breast cancer, and life during and after treatment.

Risks and causes of breast cancer

Read about the factors that can increase or reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. 

Breast cancer resources and support organisations

There are many organisations, support groups, books, videos and other resources to help you cope with breast cancer and its treatment. There is also information about mastectomy wear and prosthesis suppliers.

Last reviewed: 
18 Apr 2023
Next review due: 
18 Apr 2026

Page Credits: 

This section has been written, reviewed and updated by Cancer Research UK’s Patient Information Web Team. Thanks to the expert medical professionals and people affected by cancer who have helped to review this information.

  • Professor Ramsey Cutress (Consultant Surgeon and Professor of Breast Surgery)

  • Dr Andrea Stevens (Consultant Clinical Oncologist)

  • Dr Carmel Anandadas (Consultant Clinical Oncologist)

  • Mr Debasish Debnath (Consultant Oncoplastic and Reconstructive Breast Surgeon)