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How Long Does It Take Breast Cancer To Develop? Doctors Explain

How Long Does It Take Breast Cancer To Develop? Doctors Explain

If you’ve ever had an abnormal mass in your breast, or had a family history of breast cancer, you know the dread of wondering whether that lump is cancerous, and how fast it’s growing. It’s important to know that not all breast cancers grow in the same way. Breast cancer can develop at different speeds, experts tell Bustle, and many factors affect how fast or slow the process is.

Breast cancers happen when cells start to divide without stopping, Dr. Debra Patt M.D., an oncologist, breast cancer specialist, and executive vice president of Texas Oncology, tells Bustle. “Imagine you have a population of rabbits that doubles each month,” Dr. Patt says. “In month one you have two rabbits, then four, then eight. It is a very different population at month three (eight rabbits) and month seven (128 rabbits).”

A cancer cell must divide around 30 times before it can be felt as a tumor, at about half an inch in diameter, according to the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center at Providence Portland Medical Center. But there’s not a one uniform timeline for breast cancer growth.

“Breast cancer can be slow growing, aggressive, or middle-of-the-road growth,” Dr. Deborah M. Axelrod M.D., a breast surgeon and professor at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, tells Bustle. On average, Dr. Axelrod says, the time that the tumor takes to double in size is between 50 and 150 days.

Here’s Why Breast Cancer Can Take A Long Time To Develop

If you’ve ever had an abnormal mass in your breast, or had a family history of breast cancer, you know the dread of wondering whether that lump is cancerous, and how fast it’s growing. It’s important to know that not all breast cancers grow in the same way.



How Long Does It Take Breast Cancer To Develop? Doctors Explain

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