loading... close

Breast Cancer

 
Breast Cancer

Chapter: 3 - Breast Cancer

Subchapter: 2 - Growth of Cancer

The growth and spread of cancer can be difficult to grasp because cancer cell growth is fueled by usually healthy chemicals of the body. Medical professionals usually illustrate these chemicals with complex diagrams and scientific formulae. But let’s simplify it: circles are estrogen, squares are progesterone, and triangles are the HER2/neu gene. These three bodily chemicals can stimulate the growth of breast cancer tumors.

Receptors
To understand how these chemicals fuel cancer cell growth, we must first define something called a ‘receptor’.

Here is a simplified illustration of a cancer cell. Notice the receptors for estrogen and progesterone. Think of a receptor as a mouth: when open, cancer cells can feed and grow. When blocked off, the same cells begin to starve. This particular cancer cell feeds off of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Now, this is a protein that is involved in cell growth, the HER2/neu protein. When a breast cell has more than two copies of this gene, the genes begin overproducing the HER2/neu protein. As a result, the affected cells rapidly grow and divide, forming a tumor.

By identifying the cancer’s unique receptors, your doctor can recommend effective treatment methods to block the receptors. Remember, inhibiting the cancer’s “food supply” works to restrict the cancer’s growth. More information about specific hormone treatments will be discussed in Sub-chapter 6.10.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    how much does a mastecomy cost for stage 2 breast cancer

    Asked by anonymous

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

      That is impossible just as Betti says..... it varies. My mastectomy.... including everything was around $40,000. I had really lousy insurance but it helped. It also varies if you have insurance because insurance companies have agreements as to how much they "allow."
      Mine was over 6 years ago...

      more

      That is impossible just as Betti says..... it varies. My mastectomy.... including everything was around $40,000. I had really lousy insurance but it helped. It also varies if you have insurance because insurance companies have agreements as to how much they "allow."
      Mine was over 6 years ago too. Sharon

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I imagine it varies from place to place. My hospital bill was over $28,000. for the mastectomy and that didn't include the anesthesia, anesthegiolost, surgeon, etc. I was to spend 1 night and ended up spending an extra one. The biggest part of the bill was for the operating room charge; so...

      more

      I imagine it varies from place to place. My hospital bill was over $28,000. for the mastectomy and that didn't include the anesthesia, anesthegiolost, surgeon, etc. I was to spend 1 night and ended up spending an extra one. The biggest part of the bill was for the operating room charge; so much/minute.

      1 comment
  • Brooklyn Bowling Profile

    What should you do to figure out if you have breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 1 answer
    • Alice Eisele Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      The first step would be to see your doctor. They will examine the breast to see if there are any palpable lumps. The next step would normally be a mamogram, followed by an ultrasound. Sometimes, in young women, the doctor will bypass the mamogram and go right to the ultrasound. A biopsy will...

      more

      The first step would be to see your doctor. They will examine the breast to see if there are any palpable lumps. The next step would normally be a mamogram, followed by an ultrasound. Sometimes, in young women, the doctor will bypass the mamogram and go right to the ultrasound. A biopsy will only be ordered if there is some kind of suspicouse mass.

      By all means see your doctor as soon as possible when there is any question.

      Comment
  • leslie adkins Profile

    I'm getting blisters on my feet right where I have thick callouses. Doc says to use Epsom salts and rest. Anyone else had this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      It's a common side effect of chemo. I finished almost 7 months ago and the sides of my feet near the soles are still calloused! I had some thick skin, heavy peeling, etc. and while it's better, it's still an issue. I honestly don't know what causes it but I know it's not uncommon.

      Comment
    • Carol Cunningham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I have had blisters and peeling feet since chemo 4 of 6. One heel completely peeled off first level of skin. I finished chemo 6 three weeks ago and feet are still peeling. I don't do anything special to treat them but I did get a pedicure today and I feel better. Good luck and hang in there.

      Comment
  • Holly Stroup Profile

    How many people are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the state of Arizona?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years Answer

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 2

Inspire hope by becoming an advocate for breast cancer prevention.

spread the word