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Breast Cancer

 
Breast Cancer

Chapter: 3 - Breast Cancer

Subchapter: 2 - Growth of Cancer

The growth and spread of cancer can be difficult to grasp because cancer cell growth is fueled by usually healthy chemicals of the body. Medical professionals usually illustrate these chemicals with complex diagrams and scientific formulae. But let’s simplify it: circles are estrogen, squares are progesterone, and triangles are the HER2/neu gene. These three bodily chemicals can stimulate the growth of breast cancer tumors.

Receptors
To understand how these chemicals fuel cancer cell growth, we must first define something called a ‘receptor’.

Here is a simplified illustration of a cancer cell. Notice the receptors for estrogen and progesterone. Think of a receptor as a mouth: when open, cancer cells can feed and grow. When blocked off, the same cells begin to starve. This particular cancer cell feeds off of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Now, this is a protein that is involved in cell growth, the HER2/neu protein. When a breast cell has more than two copies of this gene, the genes begin overproducing the HER2/neu protein. As a result, the affected cells rapidly grow and divide, forming a tumor.

By identifying the cancer’s unique receptors, your doctor can recommend effective treatment methods to block the receptors. Remember, inhibiting the cancer’s “food supply” works to restrict the cancer’s growth. More information about specific hormone treatments will be discussed in Sub-chapter 6.10.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    I just filled my first prescription of Tamoxifen - $9.00 for 30 days at Kroger. Sigh... I am a bit nervous. I did read on European boards today that most ladies do not gain weight. Let's hope I have few side effects :) Radiation Girl

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    almost 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      You'll be alright. It is a little tough in the beginning. Yoga and a fan will be your best friends.

      2 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Thank you Mary, what do you take for the night sweats and hot flashes? Thanks for your help. :)

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What are the different types of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 1 answer
    • Susan Green Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      I don't know a lot about all of this as I was diagnosed ony four weeks ago and had er & prog. pos. infiltrating with neg lymph node involvement. But, you can get a lot of info on the cancer centers of america and cancer care websites. You can also have a live chat with someone at the cancer...

      more

      I don't know a lot about all of this as I was diagnosed ony four weeks ago and had er & prog. pos. infiltrating with neg lymph node involvement. But, you can get a lot of info on the cancer centers of america and cancer care websites. You can also have a live chat with someone at the cancer center website. There is a lot of useful info on treatments, stages & types of cancer. I hope this helps you. Good luck with whatever you are going through. I think everybody on this website are willing to help and we all pray for each other. Learn all you can about your condition and your options.

      1 comment
  • Deborah Baker Profile

    How long does it take for hair to grow back? Last treatment was 2 weeks ago...

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Deborah,
      I wish I could tell you how long it will take but it won't be soon unfortunately. It took my hair about 8 months to really show growth that actually looked like I --might-- have just chosen a really, really, short haircut. Arrrrgh! My hair normally grows very quickly but didn't after...

      more

      Deborah,
      I wish I could tell you how long it will take but it won't be soon unfortunately. It took my hair about 8 months to really show growth that actually looked like I --might-- have just chosen a really, really, short haircut. Arrrrgh! My hair normally grows very quickly but didn't after chemo. Like everything else, it is an individual with each woman. I don't know if there is anything you can do to speed it along either. I guess you just have to be very thankful, you are done with your chemo every time you look in a mirror. Glad you are done. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Francine Williams Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I finish Chemo in June and my hair is so pretty and curly it's looks as if that's how I cut it!!I'm so proud to rock it like this.So give it sometime and b4 u know it it will be sprouting all over ur head!!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Tomorrow a year ago, I knew I had cancer. This year was insightful, husband at first walked out, Christian friends, well - they were anything but. Good doctors and good plan. But still scared and glad to have found this side. I value life more than ever.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    about 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I'm so sorry, for your diagnosis. And for your husband walking out on you. That's so wrong in every way. You truly find out who you true friends are when cancer comes around. I lost a few "so called" friends my self. But I also found new friends that truly stepped up to the plate when I needed...

      more

      I'm so sorry, for your diagnosis. And for your husband walking out on you. That's so wrong in every way. You truly find out who you true friends are when cancer comes around. I lost a few "so called" friends my self. But I also found new friends that truly stepped up to the plate when I needed them. I'm diana welcome to our boards, there are a lot of awesome women here, if you need to talk, we'll be here for you, Hugs, Diana

      Comment
    • Renee' OK Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes indeed. I feel your pain. It will get better and the strength you will gain is unmeasurable. Peace and healing to you!

      Comment

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