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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    I've had moderately severe psoriasis on my hands since the age of 6. I am concerned abut how it will respond to chemo and radiation. Anyone had experience with this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 6 years 1 answer
    • kim sosa Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had severe psoriasis on my elbows and the chemo killed all of it. I finished chemo two months ago and so far it has not come back.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is there always radiation treatment after a lumpectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 5 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Kathy Crum Profile
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      The answer is really not an answer at all but rather what you see as the best options for you and your survival and/or risk factors related to the cancer returning. The standard of care across the board seems to be the surgery to remove, followed by chemo, and then radiation. The type, dosage,...

      more

      The answer is really not an answer at all but rather what you see as the best options for you and your survival and/or risk factors related to the cancer returning. The standard of care across the board seems to be the surgery to remove, followed by chemo, and then radiation. The type, dosage, and length of treatment has a lot of factors to consider. In the end it is your individual choice to choose what is best for you and the more you educate yourself about the risks vs benefits vs percentage rates of what that treatment is giving you for a chance of survival and to remain cancer free will arm you with the knowledge to ask informed questions to your oncologist and radiation dr about what exactly those benefits of that treatment are. Keep your spirit up and mind informed. Wishing you the best and will be praying for your full recovery.

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am sure there have been some cases but generally speaking, with a lumpectomy comes radiation. You never know if a few cancer cells have taken a hike away the original tumor. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    2 small lumps in my breast

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 3 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Finding 2 lumps is scary. 80% of lumps are not cancer, but please go to the doctor soon, for peace of mind and to determine what they are. Early detection saves lives. Keep us posted on the results.

      2 comments
    • Mary Navarro Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Go see your doctor. The sooner the better, for a peace of mind.

      Comment
  • Tracy Lewis Norman Profile

    What is the difference between the grades and stages of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Tracy,
      Arrrgh... by the time you have completed your treatment, you will be an expert! So sorry it has to be an expert in breast cancer treatment. Have you heard what type of breast cancer you have yet? As several have said.... Stage is the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. My...

      more

      Tracy,
      Arrrgh... by the time you have completed your treatment, you will be an expert! So sorry it has to be an expert in breast cancer treatment. Have you heard what type of breast cancer you have yet? As several have said.... Stage is the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. My stage was was a 2B..... (a 2.3cm with 1 positive lymph node.) The grade is how agressive the cells are.... grade 1-relatively non-agressive, grade 2 - middle of the road. grade 3 more aggressive cells. Within the grade, there can be varying degrees of aggressiveness. You will also have a report on your cancer's sensitivety to hormones. It will be ER+ or - PR + or - and HER2 + or -
      Breast cancer is very individual to each person. You can have the same type of breast cancer as the next woman and that is where the similarities end. Your cells are unique to you. Your treatment will be developed because of the cells seen at your biopsy. You will wonder why your treatment is different from mine but it is because our breast cancer may be completely different on a cell level. It's confusing for sure. Each woman reaction to their treatments are all different too. Just as Jo says... bring every single itty bitty question to your interview. Best too, if you bring a friend who can either take really great notes or bring some kind of recorder with you. You are given a lot of information and you won't necessarily remember it all. We are always here for you as you go through your treatment. Hang in there.... there's a wonderful bunch of "sister's" out here to help. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Tracy Lewis Norman Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      i have grade 3 breast cancer but i dont understand that, im scared it is growing everywhere else. what does that mean?

      11 comments

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