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Breast Cancer

 
Breast Cancer

Chapter: 3 - Breast Cancer

Subchapter: 3 - Types of Tumors

Remember, a tumor is a mass of abnormal tissue. There are two types of tumors: those that are non-cancerous, or ‘benign’, and those that are cancerous, which are ‘malignant’.

Benign Tumors
When a tumor is diagnosed as benign, doctors usually leave it alone rather than remove it. Even though these tumors are not aggressive toward surrounding tissue, they may continue to grow, pressing on organs and causing pain or other problems. In these situations, the tumor is removed, allowing pain or complications to subside.

Malignant Tumors
Malignant tumors are cancerous and aggressive, because they invade and damage surrounding tissue. When a tumor is suspected to be malignant, the doctor will preform a biopsy, a diagnostic procedure which we will cover in Sub–Chapter 4.3, to determine the severity of the tumor.

Metastatic Cancer
Metastatic cancer is when cancer cells of a malignant tumor spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph system, and form a secondary tumor.

Tumor Grades
Tumor grading is a system used to classify a malignant tumor based upon the severity of the mutation and the likelihood that it will spread. According to the National Cancer Institutes's tumor grading system, there are four grades: low grade (1), intermediate grade (2) and two types of high grades (3 & 4). Grade 1 tumor cells, for example, are the least aggressive in behavior; they still resemble healthy cells and multiply at a slower rate. Higher grade tumors tend to grow and spread more rapidly than tumors of a lower grade.

Tumor grades are not to be confused with cancer stages, which we will discuss in detail in Chapter 5.

In this chapter, we looked at where cancer usually begins, reasons why it grows, how it spreads, the importance of evaluating the tumor for certain receptors, and the difference between benign and malignant tumors.

Now it’s time to get a better understanding of your diagnosis.

Related Questions

  • jenny l Profile

    I went to the doctor yesterday to have a biopsy done on a lump I found and once the doctor realized my age he wouldn't do any necessary tests because he said I was "too young" to have breast cancer and sent me home... What should I do?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hi Jenny, I went through the same thing, but it was the insurance company that said I was too young for a mammogram and ultrasound to be covered. My g.p. felt the lump that i had found and ordered the tests. The ins co said they wouldn't cover it. It took 15 min of the doc arguing why I needed...

      more

      Hi Jenny, I went through the same thing, but it was the insurance company that said I was too young for a mammogram and ultrasound to be covered. My g.p. felt the lump that i had found and ordered the tests. The ins co said they wouldn't cover it. It took 15 min of the doc arguing why I needed them done for them to say yes. I felt the lump last April when I was 29. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in June. I would find another doctor that will listen to you. You do not want to wait if you feel there is an issue. How old are you, that the doctor says you are too young? I have met 3 ladies that are my age or younger just from this website. Unfortunately, no age is too young for a breast cancer diagnosis. If you have any other questions I am here to answer what I can. Best of luck to you. ~ Tiffani

      8 comments
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      The other ladies are so right. Unfortunately there are still doctors out there that think there's an age limit on breast cancer. Not true!!!!!! You need to find a specialized breast center in your area. If you're not sure where to go...just call the American Cancer Society. They'll refer you to...

      more

      The other ladies are so right. Unfortunately there are still doctors out there that think there's an age limit on breast cancer. Not true!!!!!! You need to find a specialized breast center in your area. If you're not sure where to go...just call the American Cancer Society. They'll refer you to a good clinic in your area. Don't give up until you have an answer that you're content with. Don't ever hesitate to get a second opinion!!

      Comment
  • charmaine taylor Profile

    I was told my cat scan showed I have a mass on my breast/ I have to for ER followup--what should I expect next?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Charmaine, so sorry for this shocking outcome. The next steps usually go like this.... you will probably have a mammogram, ultrasound, a needle biopsy and a couple of days wait for the results. Keep in mind, this could be benign. So for now, this may be your path. They might be able to tell...

      more

      Hi Charmaine, so sorry for this shocking outcome. The next steps usually go like this.... you will probably have a mammogram, ultrasound, a needle biopsy and a couple of days wait for the results. Keep in mind, this could be benign. So for now, this may be your path. They might be able to tell a lot from the mammogram and ultrasound and that is only how far you will need to go. Hang in there Charmaine, we have been there. If you need more information, please check back in with us here. There are lots of women here to help you. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • charmaine taylor Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thank you

      Comment
  • Jessica Fisher Profile

    I'm 29 recently diagnosed with IDC and the surgery option has been left up to me now and I'm struggling with the decision to have a lumpectomy or a preventative double mastectomy with full reconstruction. Suggestions?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    about 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Jessica, I'm sorry to hear about your DCIS diagnosis. I have stage 3 IDC and can relate to what you're feeling. Have you had the BRACA testing performed? It tests to see if you carry the breast cancer gene. That would definitely help with your decision. There are many things such as if any...

      more

      Hi Jessica, I'm sorry to hear about your DCIS diagnosis. I have stage 3 IDC and can relate to what you're feeling. Have you had the BRACA testing performed? It tests to see if you carry the breast cancer gene. That would definitely help with your decision. There are many things such as if any other members of your immediate family has had cancer, etc. I have a later stage of cancer so I have decided to have a double mastectomy. But it's such a personal decision to make. There is a wonderful site called breastcancer.org. You have to be very careful about doing research online. There is a lot of misinformation out there. This is a very good site for cancer info and includes a support board with other women that have DCIS. Dr Susan Love's breast book is also very informative. Best wishes to you whatever you decide,

      Diana

      6 comments
    • Surf  Momma Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I also had the option of choosing what treatment to do. It did not sit right with me because I am not a doctor. Educate yourself in all options. Try and think of all scenarios and how you might feel with each. I choose a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. My surgery was just 2 weeks...

      more

      I also had the option of choosing what treatment to do. It did not sit right with me because I am not a doctor. Educate yourself in all options. Try and think of all scenarios and how you might feel with each. I choose a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. My surgery was just 2 weeks ago.

      Good luck

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have stage 1 1.8 cm grade 2 no node chemo cef . 1 month after chemo i have bone pain and the last tumor marker is 26.4 .the normal is 25. Oncologist say i need ct scan but I am scared to do it. Is there some one like me?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    about 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anonymous,
      The test, as Mary described is an easy one. We, are ALL like you! We certainly can all understand how you would be worried about what this test might find. You need to have this test because if the treatment you have had isn't working, your doctor needs to change course, and select...

      more

      Anonymous,
      The test, as Mary described is an easy one. We, are ALL like you! We certainly can all understand how you would be worried about what this test might find. You need to have this test because if the treatment you have had isn't working, your doctor needs to change course, and select another. This is the time when you need to muster all of your courage and march into that CT scan. The sooner, the better. Remember, this all could be just a glitch and you will find you are ok. Be brave and courageous because you have to get this test done ASAP. Remember, there are a ba-zillion of us out here who completely understand the fear you have. Hang in there, and prayers for strength.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Mary Chase Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Are you worried about having a CT? A CT is an easy test and not as involved as an MRI. They. Ay have you I gets some contrast- not the best testing stuff but definitely tolerable. Then during the test they may also give you contrast via IV. All you do is lay on the table. Painless and over quickly.

      Comment

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