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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

  • Kristin Nida Profile

    Does having breast cancer affect your period?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 2 answers
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Chemotherapy can affect your period. Depending upon ones age, chemotherapy can thrust a patient into early menopause with all the "wonderful" side effects of menopause. The closer one is to menopausal age when starting chemotherapy, the less chance periods will return when treatment is finished.

      Comment
    • Nancy Snowden Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Tamoxifen also affects your period. I am 41 and have been on tamoxifen for two years. I have not had a period since October of last year. Each person is unique so be sure to check with your doctor.

      Comment
  • Julie Ren Profile

    Can you get breast cancer if you get your breast enlarged?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 1 answer
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Not because of the breast enlargement! But, yes, even with the enlargements you can get BC.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    what kind of breast cancer is only treated with medicine?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      Breast cancer is a complicated disease and is usually treated with a combination of modalities. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy. The decision as to what would be the best treatment depends on the tumor, what type, stage, and grade.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      The treatment depends on you and your type of breast cancer. Look at the learn section of this side.

      Comment
  • Alglen Thelex Garay Profile

    hello... my mom was advised by her oncologist after the radial mastectomy to have Herceptin every 3 weeks for 13 sessions... what should we expect during the treatment...

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I have been on herceptin since last Jan and have 3 more sessions and I have not had one problem! Honestly, it will be such an advantage to her. My oncologist described herceptin as a "home run drug" in cancer treatment in the last 10 years. He said it's such an incredible advancement and women...

      more

      I have been on herceptin since last Jan and have 3 more sessions and I have not had one problem! Honestly, it will be such an advantage to her. My oncologist described herceptin as a "home run drug" in cancer treatment in the last 10 years. He said it's such an incredible advancement and women with HER2 tumors now have a great prognosis. Encourage her to consider it!

      Comment
    • celien thorne Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      The herceptin is tolerable , it does give some side effects like runny nose , brittle nails , shortness of breath and stomach issues maybe a little tired then it passes .. I have been on it for about 9 months n counting . I just ran a 10k on turkey day and that was a day after herceptin ! Woo...

      more

      The herceptin is tolerable , it does give some side effects like runny nose , brittle nails , shortness of breath and stomach issues maybe a little tired then it passes .. I have been on it for about 9 months n counting . I just ran a 10k on turkey day and that was a day after herceptin ! Woo hoo! exercise is a great thing to do to help us heal at any age , even walking or whatever activity ur mom might enjoy maybe u can do together. One day at a time :-)

      3 comments

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Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.

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