Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow abnormally. As the breast cancer grows, it can spread to nearby tissues and lymph nodes. Advanced breast cancer can affect the bones, liver and brain.
Your doctor will find out more about your breast cancer when the cancer cells are examined under the microscope. Tests for hormone receptors and gene changes are usually done after surgery. For the tests, your doctor uses tissue taken from your breast.
Your doctor will also stage the cancer to see how far it has spread within the breast, to nearby tissues and to other organs. Your doctor will find the stage by using tests, such as chest X-rays or CT scans. The stage of your cancer will help guide your treatment options.
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