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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 have been informed of my diagnosis (IDC) this week and I think I am starting to freak out! I feel some nausea and my breast is sore at times. Is all of this normal??? I go from a moment of being smiling to feeling blue.

    Asked by anonymous

    almost 5 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Have you received any more about the diagnosis other than the type? You are pretty much in a spot of knowing you have breast cancer and not knowing anything about your treatment or where you go from here. This is a scary place to be because your mind imagines the worst. You need to get a...

      more

      Have you received any more about the diagnosis other than the type? You are pretty much in a spot of knowing you have breast cancer and not knowing anything about your treatment or where you go from here. This is a scary place to be because your mind imagines the worst. You need to get a consultation and take a friend, or family member with you to take note and "help you listen" to what is being said. You have been diagnosed with the most common form of breast cancer so it is not something rare. There are tried and true treatments for this type of cancer. It is the type I had eight years ago. Don't go wandering around the internet scaring yourself. In the next few days you will get more information. Please keep in touch with us as you go through your treatment...we've been there! Don't be afraid to ask your doctor anything you don't understand, especially about your diagnosis. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Norma  Cook Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2014

      The nausea and soreness were not something I experienced following my diagnosis, but the up-and-down emotions are very common. Your life has taken a sudden detour and the road ahead has many twists and turns. The support of family and friends is so important as you face this journey. Your next...

      more

      The nausea and soreness were not something I experienced following my diagnosis, but the up-and-down emotions are very common. Your life has taken a sudden detour and the road ahead has many twists and turns. The support of family and friends is so important as you face this journey. Your next step will probably be a referral from your family doctor to see a surgeon and/or an oncologist for a consultation. My surgeon gave me an information packet and told me to read only what applied to me. My treatment plan for IDC during this past year has involved lumpectomy, radiation and tamoxifen, which seems to be typical. However, each case is unique and your medical team will recommend what is best for you.

      1 comment
  • Rebecca Buell Profile

    How likely am I to get breast cancer if it runs in my family?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 2 answers
    • Laura Gaspard Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      If you have a grandmother, mother, sister, or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, this does put you in a higher risk group. Have a baseline mammogram at least five years before the age of breast cancer onset in any close relatives, or starting at age 35. See your physician at any...

      more

      If you have a grandmother, mother, sister, or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, this does put you in a higher risk group. Have a baseline mammogram at least five years before the age of breast cancer onset in any close relatives, or starting at age 35. See your physician at any sign of unusual symptoms.

      Comment
    • Adrienne private Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3C Patient

      Also, you can consider getting genetic testing for the brca gene, which puts one at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Some insurance companies pay for the test.

      Comment
  • Crystie Goldsmith Profile

    im going for a mamogram today, and they said to expect to be there a hour because if the radiiologist think I need a sonogram after it will take more time, does needing a sonogram after mean cancer

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      No, it does not. Using U/S is another way of looking at something (in your case you say you have a lump). I used to do mammograms and a lump can have several different appearances, hence it sounds like they are being cautious which I'm sure you want them to be. Only a biopsy can tell if it's...

      more

      No, it does not. Using U/S is another way of looking at something (in your case you say you have a lump). I used to do mammograms and a lump can have several different appearances, hence it sounds like they are being cautious which I'm sure you want them to be. Only a biopsy can tell if it's cancer or not.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Nothing means cancer until the result from a biopsy come back positive.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is Grade 3 the same as Stage 3?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Leah Fortune Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      No stage is how far it's gone, size some other stuff, and grade is what the cancer cell looks like and how fast growing it is.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thnx Leah, good luck to you.

      Comment

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