Each year in Ireland, almost 3,400 women and approximately 30 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. It is more common in women over 50, but it can affect younger women too.
Breast cancer is treated with surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapies, depending on the type.
On this page:
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is when cells in your breast change and grow in an abnormal way. A group of these cancer cells can form a tumour.
Breast cancer is a common cancer in Ireland. Almost 3,400 women and approximately 30 men are diagnosed with breast cancer.
What are the breasts and what do they do?
Your breasts are made up of different types of tissue including fat, connective tissue and gland tissue. The gland tissue is divided into milk lobes and milk ducts. During and after pregnancy, milk is made and stored by the lobes and carried to the nipple by the ducts.
Your breasts are rarely the same size as each other. They may feel different at different times of the menstrual cycle, sometimes becoming lumpy just before your period. Under your skin, a ‘tail’ of breast tissue extends into your armpit (axilla).
The armpits also contain a collection of lymph nodes (glands) that make up part of the lymphatic system.
We use the term ‘woman / women’ in our breast cancer information but we understand that not everyone who may need this information identifies as a woman. Although it is rare, men can get breast cancer too.
Whoever you are, wherever you come from, we are here for you. For confidential advice, information and support, contact our Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700.
More information about breast cancer
Signs and symptoms, types of breast cancer, and how breast cancer is diagnosed.
Prevention and early detection of breast cancer
Information about breast cancer risk factors, how to check your breasts for changes, and screening for breast cancer.
More information about a breast cancer diagnosis
What to expect after a breast cancer diagnosis, including further tests, grading and staging, and how your hormones and cells determine what kind of treatment to expect.
More information about breast cancer treatment
Treatment for breast cancer depends on the type. Usually the main treatments are surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapies.
Coping with breast cancer treatment and side-effects
Tips and advice for when treatment is finished, including coping with emotions and physical changes.
Looking for support?
Our cancer support section contains information and advice on coping with cancer for diagnosed patients and their loved ones.
It explains more about the breast, what DCIS is, and how it is treated.
For more information
1800 200 700