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Breast Cancer

 
Breast Cancer

Chapter: 3 - Breast Cancer

Subchapter: 1 - What is Cancer?

What is Cancer?
Healthy cells are the basic building blocks of all tissue and organs in the body. But when cell DNA (the cell’s wiring) is damaged, mutated cells begin to rapidly reproduce without following the pre-wired plan.

Aggressive cell growth can form a tumor (or mass of tissue) that, like each individual cell, does not function as originally intended. These abnormal cells or groups of cells can progress into the disease known as cancer.

Cancer Origins
Breast cancer usually begins either where the milk is being produced, the lobules, or in the milk ducts.

Lobules
Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS) is a pre-cancerous condition that forms and is contained in the lobules. Invasive lobular carcinoma is a type of cancer that develops and breaks through the lobules, with the potential to spread to other areas of the body.

Milk Ducts
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) is a type of cancer that forms in the milk ducts and is considered non–invasive because it has not spread to any surrounding tissue. Once the cancer has spread beyond the milk ducts, it is known as ductal carcinoma.

Less frequently, breast cancer can originate in the stromal tissue– the fatty and fibrous connective tissue of the breast.

Prognosis
Treating breast cancer as soon as it’s discovered is very important. If left untreated, the cancer cells may invade healthy breast tissue or lymph nodes. Once in the lymph system, cancer can spread more easily to other parts of the body.

Related Questions

  • deb s Profile

    My oncotype DX score was 60, very high! Has anyone else had scores this high??? Does a high score impact my overall prognosis and chance for recurrence or new cancer after chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    almost 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Deb, I found a very good explanation about the reason for the Onco DX, and the theory behind it.
      http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/oncotype_dx.jsp

      As I understand it, the test helps women and their doctors predict whether their type of cancer, even though you are node...

      more

      Hi Deb, I found a very good explanation about the reason for the Onco DX, and the theory behind it.
      http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/oncotype_dx.jsp

      As I understand it, the test helps women and their doctors predict whether their type of cancer, even though you are node negative, is likely to reoccur. The tests that come back a high score are the types of breast cancer's where it would be advantagious to receive further treatment such as chemotherapy and/ or hormone therapy. You probably have an upcoming appointment with your oncologist to ask these questions. There is a website that is called Ajunctive Online or something similar. Your oncologist can plug in your type of cancer, staging, size, type and come up with your percentages. It will show your chances with chemotherapy and without. It was impressive and I went through chemotherapy and hormone therapy. If after you talk to your oncologist, and you still have questions, go for a second opinion. I would also advise you to bring along a friend, spouse, other family member who can take notes. You will probably need some help processing all the information. You will do fine. It's a big journey but your have a whole bunch of women who have been there.... done that. Healing hugs, Sharon

      Comment
    • nicole blagburn Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would like to know the answer to this too. I found out my score next week.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    It has been 2 years since my chemotherapy and I still have pain and numbness in my finger nails and my feet feel like I am walking on rocks... is this happening to anyone else so long after?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 7 answers
  • judy byfield Profile

    is a discharge from the breast indicative of breast cancer. I'm 67 - Had hysterectomy years ago - no hormones

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Judy,
      Any time you have something out of the ordinary or not normal for you in your breasts it is good to have your doctor check.
      Three warning signs are:
      •Discharge that occurs without squeezing the nipple
      •Discharge that occurs in only one breast
      •Discharge that has blood in it or is...

      more

      Judy,
      Any time you have something out of the ordinary or not normal for you in your breasts it is good to have your doctor check.
      Three warning signs are:
      •Discharge that occurs without squeezing the nipple
      •Discharge that occurs in only one breast
      •Discharge that has blood in it or is clear (not milky)
      I would get an appointment with your doctor and have it checked out.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I think that's a good reason to visit your doctor. I had a friend who had nipple discharge (age48 )and turned out to be nothing but I would want to check with your doctor to be sure. All my best to you and hope it turns out fine.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I posted a few days ago about my sentinel node and lumpectomy. I had the surgery yesterday which took four hours instead of one and a half. The doctor found lymph node involvement. How does this affect my chance of survival?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      The same thing happened to me. I don't ponder my chance of survival because NO ONE can predict your life span. My surgery was 5 years ago, I am still alive, obviously, and try not worry. I leave the worrying up to my team of doctors. My job is to live the life I have to the fullest.... which...

      more

      The same thing happened to me. I don't ponder my chance of survival because NO ONE can predict your life span. My surgery was 5 years ago, I am still alive, obviously, and try not worry. I leave the worrying up to my team of doctors. My job is to live the life I have to the fullest.... which I am doing. Doctor's talk in percentages because that is how they set out your treatment plan. My doctor said even though I had a lymph node that was positive, it did not change my treatment plan at all. I went from a 2A to a 2B. Worrying about your demise is a destructive behavior. Focus on getting through your treatment, in the most positive way you can. Worrying, is not going to change anything anyway, it will just make you miserable. Again.... only God knows how long we have here.... there are plenty of women who have long outlived a "statistic". We are not numbers.... we are living, breathing, wonderful women! Positive thinking and affirming statements are what you need... not predictions of the end of your life. Hang in there, you will make it.
      Take care, Sharon

      2 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi, Please don't begin to worry about survival rates. You've begun the journey to good health and life. There will be soooo many factors to consider in the coming days that will determine your special plan and your doctors will guide you through each level of that treatment. Make a list of every...

      more

      Hi, Please don't begin to worry about survival rates. You've begun the journey to good health and life. There will be soooo many factors to consider in the coming days that will determine your special plan and your doctors will guide you through each level of that treatment. Make a list of every question-small, large, odd, and profound-they are eager to answer them and will be much more open if they see you're a patient hungry for info. You will be the most valuable partner in this quest to a rich and long life. Breathe and lean on those around you and be amazed at the strength that will carry you through ONE DAY AT A TIME. Hugs and waiting for you on the path to healing. :-D Jo

      Comment

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