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Where it starts

Breast cancer most commonly starts in the cells that line the ducts of the breast. 

9 out of 10 of these cancers have no special features when the cells are looked at under the microscope. They are called invasive breast cancer (NST). NST stands for No Special Type. 

Around 1 in 10 breast cancers (10%) are invasive lobular carcinoma. This means that the cancer started in the cells that line the lobules of the breast.

There are other rarer types of breast cancer.

Who gets it

Around 55,200 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK each year. That is around 150 people a day. 

It is more common in women than men. Around 54,800 women are diagnosed each year and around 390 men.

1 in 8 women in the UK develop breast cancer during their lifetime. 1 in 870 men develop it. Most of the women who get breast cancer have had their menopause, but about 2 out of every 10 (20%) are under 50 years old.

Breast cancer risk can be affected by age, family history and lifestyle factors such as obesity and smoking.


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