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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

  • Courtney C. Profile

    How close are we to finding a cure?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Unfortunately, I don't think there's dedication at all on finding a cure for cancer in general. There is researches on new treatments, new medications, less invasive procedures. But meanwhile the pharmaceutical industry makes millions with diseases, nobody will give up the profits for the cure....

      more

      Unfortunately, I don't think there's dedication at all on finding a cure for cancer in general. There is researches on new treatments, new medications, less invasive procedures. But meanwhile the pharmaceutical industry makes millions with diseases, nobody will give up the profits for the cure. When you know that 1 (one) session of chemotherapy runs around $30,000/$40,000, you understand what I mean!

      Comment
    • Shannon Key Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I'm so glad to hear that someone else thinks like my survivor friends and myself!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My Grandma who is at least 70 was just diagnosed with breast cancer. This is the second time this has happened except this time it is stage 2. She is going to do chemo and have one breast removed. But I'm scared I will lose her. Am I going to lose her?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am so sorry your Grandma has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Rest assured she has an EXCELLENT chance of beating this again. It sounds as if this was caught at an early stage. She would not want you to worry for her. Many women here have the same type of treatment as she will go...

      more

      I am so sorry your Grandma has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Rest assured she has an EXCELLENT chance of beating this again. It sounds as if this was caught at an early stage. She would not want you to worry for her. Many women here have the same type of treatment as she will go through. We are fine and living wonderful lives. She will probably need your help as she is going through her treatment. You are a wonderful caring Granddaughter, and your Grandma is a very lucky woman!
      Hugs to you, Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Leslie Johnson  Profile

    my breast density is heterogeneously dense what does this mean?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 2 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I never knew that I had dense breasts until I got bc. It makes it not only more difficult to read the mammo, we are also at higher risk for bc.

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Breast tissue is normally dense in younger patients and is replaced by fat later on. Some women just have dense tissue (mine always has been and still is at age 63) making it most difficult to read mammograms. It just depends, too, on how dense they are. There can also be a combination of...

      more

      Breast tissue is normally dense in younger patients and is replaced by fat later on. Some women just have dense tissue (mine always has been and still is at age 63) making it most difficult to read mammograms. It just depends, too, on how dense they are. There can also be a combination of dense and fatty. Fatty breasts are the easiest to read, generally. I used to do mammos. so that is how we'd explain it to patients. Did your report say how dense they are as I guess they have to include that on the report now along with the Birads code.

      1 comment
  • sheree oden Profile

    Has anyone had a recurrence in a previous mastectomy ? An identical tumor came back 10!yrs later in the tissue surrounding an implant where my left breast had been. Next week I will have a re mastectomy, followed by radiation and more chemo.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Lisa S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Recently diagnosed in my lymph nodes on my chest wall as well as many lymph nodes regionally after mastectomy chemo radiation and hormonal therapy. First dx 1/2010 this time 2/2012. Prayers and hugs going your way. Keep in touch.

      1 comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      afternoon Sheree.
      I was first diagnosed in 2003 had subcutaneous bilateral mastectomies for DCIS had abnormal mammograms again in 2005 had further mastectomies for atypical hyperplasia and in 2008 again abnormal mammograms had simple mastectomies lymph node biopsies with my last mastectomies the...

      more

      afternoon Sheree.
      I was first diagnosed in 2003 had subcutaneous bilateral mastectomies for DCIS had abnormal mammograms again in 2005 had further mastectomies for atypical hyperplasia and in 2008 again abnormal mammograms had simple mastectomies lymph node biopsies with my last mastectomies the surgeon tried to scrap down to my rib cage and axillary area. I had reconstruction with my first surgery in 2003 I still have the original implants in place with my last mastectomies in 2008 my surgeon said it is now like I had a complete simple mastectomy and the remaining tissue was just enough as a skin graft over my implants. The surgery was a piece of cake third time around although more restrictions with movement and lifting for 3 months.

      It is impossible to get all the breast tissue out unless they go back to the radical mastectomies of the old days. My reoccurence was at the incisional line. Most important is even if you have mastectomies continue to have mammograms, breast ultrasounds or scans...I was fortunate even though I had a reoccurence it was always caught early and only microscopic invasive cells with negative lymph nodes. Have been on tamoxifen for the last three years and will be starting Arimidex in a couple of weeks for another 5 years.

      May God watch over you on your journey

      3 comments

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