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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

  • Anna Gregorich Profile

    What is DCIS in breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Evelyn Yung Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It's ductal carcinoma in situ - the cancer cells are inside the duct n haven't become invasive yet. I got diagnosed with it 2 weeks ago n had a surgery done last week. It was shocking but all went well. So I trust that it is very manageable in today's medical technology :-)

      1 comment
    • Coco Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Ductal Carcinoma In Situ - DCIS - is also sometimes referred to as Stage 0 breast cancer because it is not invasive - it has not travelled beyond the cell membranes in which it has appeared. It is a controversial name as some researchers claim it should not be called cancer, but something else. ...

      more

      Ductal Carcinoma In Situ - DCIS - is also sometimes referred to as Stage 0 breast cancer because it is not invasive - it has not travelled beyond the cell membranes in which it has appeared. It is a controversial name as some researchers claim it should not be called cancer, but something else. Only a percentage of DCIS proceed to become invasive breast cancer. Sometimes DCIS spontaneously regresses and even goes away and other times it proceeds to become invasive and therefore much more threatening. We currently do not have a 100% reliable diagnostic tool to tell us which category our DCIS falls in. This is why some women with DCIS have full blown treatment including mastectomy. Others take a less aggressive approach. This depends on your personal taste for risk, the results of your histopathology report and discussions with your treating team.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My mother has a ball on her breast and she can actually move it around and play with it she got a rash on her nipple once is that a sign of breast cancer I'm worried

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 1 answer
    • frances pensato Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You should tell your mom to see her doctor. Lumps on the breast should get checked.

      Comment
  • Lori Nau Profile

    Are there any other places in the body that tumors can grow that are hormone fed?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 0 Patient
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • Lori Nau Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      Other than the breast

      Comment
    • Roxann C Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      There is a strong link between breast and ovarian cancer. I highly recommend to all breast cancer patients/survivors to get a yearly CA-125 blood test done with their yearly pap smears. Its the only test right now to help detect ovarian cancer without an MRI.

      3 comments
  • Susan Green Profile

    My oncologist said that cancer could have spread even though I had a mastectomy with negative lymph nodes. Has anyone had this happen?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I think it all depends on the pathology of the breast cancer. There are so many other findings once a detailed report comes back one needs more information. Did you doctor say this in a context of recommending further treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation? There is probably always a...

      more

      I think it all depends on the pathology of the breast cancer. There are so many other findings once a detailed report comes back one needs more information. Did you doctor say this in a context of recommending further treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation? There is probably always a possibility of a cancer spreading but you / we need more information. If you are unsure about additional treatment, I would advise you to get a second opinion. Susan, good luck to you. There are a ba-zillion of us alive and well post breast cancer!

      4 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Well, dang I wrote a whole long bla-bla and somehow it vanished. The testing your doctor is waiting for is probably an "Oncotest DX" This test looks at the actual tumor cells and pathologists are able to grade them as to their probability of recurrance. If they are a higher grade on the scale,...

      more

      Well, dang I wrote a whole long bla-bla and somehow it vanished. The testing your doctor is waiting for is probably an "Oncotest DX" This test looks at the actual tumor cells and pathologists are able to grade them as to their probability of recurrance. If they are a higher grade on the scale, they will recommend further treatment. This way, if they are a low grade for recurrance, you won't be receiving unnecesary treatment. My brother-in-law had breast cancer and the onco DX and his cells were so low grade he didn't have to have any further treatment after his mastectomy. I did not have an onco test 4 years ago because I had one positive lymph node. (BUT...) My oncologist had just returned from a breast cancer symposium and there had been a completion of a study which benefited me. I only had to have 4 rounds of chemo because of the study because the study showed any more chemo would NOT benefit my type of breast cancer.....YAHOOOO! . Every single day, little advancements are made in diagnostics and treatments. The way it is going, treatments are becoming less drastic than they were in the past. This test you are waiting for does take longer than the other pathology for your tumor. This will be the final one in the line of all the diagnostics. You will move along to the next step. Susan, don't worry.... you will be ok. There are a ton of positive stories out here. Women are living long lives. I hope you keep in contact. We are a great big supportive group out here. We want to help other sisters who are going through this all too common battle. Again, please stay in touch. All the best to you, we all know what you are going through. Big healing hugs, Sharon

      Comment

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

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