loading... close

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

  • Helen Hammell Machado Profile

    Had a mammogram and had a 2nd with more details images. Got results in mail today BIRADS Category 3 need another mammogram in 6 mths

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 1 answer
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      As I recall from my days working as a Mammography Tech. Birads cat. 3 simply means they saw something, that is benign appearing, and recheck in 6 months to make sure it is stable. That may not be quite the wording, but pretty close I'm sure. Also when I was working the Birads codes went from...

      more

      As I recall from my days working as a Mammography Tech. Birads cat. 3 simply means they saw something, that is benign appearing, and recheck in 6 months to make sure it is stable. That may not be quite the wording, but pretty close I'm sure. Also when I was working the Birads codes went from 0-5 and they've since added a 6.

      Comment
  • Doug Robinson Profile

    Wife 20yr survivor stage 2B, has an attitude, does not want to go to the doctor anymore for any checks up. Is there data on survival rate if they did nothing?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Doug,
      Congratulations to your wife.... she is a long time survivor for sure! I can understand her attitude because I have also developed an edge regarding check up appointments and I am only out 7 years. I get sick and tired of being looked at like I have one foot in the grave and the other on...

      more

      Doug,
      Congratulations to your wife.... she is a long time survivor for sure! I can understand her attitude because I have also developed an edge regarding check up appointments and I am only out 7 years. I get sick and tired of being looked at like I have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. U.S. medicine seems to care very little about prevention and ways in heavy on the early detection. I resent my doctor for sending me for every invasive test he can think of in answer to something that ends up being nothing. He treats me like I am already in hospice care and nearly dead. I am done with being terrified over and over multiple times during my years. I have more stress from my doctor's stress than anything in my day to day life. I live from appointment to appointment. It is impossible for me to know what is in your wife's head. At this point, if your wife developed breast cancer again.... it would not be a recurrance, it would be a new cancer. I do not of a woman who after 20 years developed another breast cancer.... was successfully treated again and is in her 7th year of survival just like me. Your wife's chance of developing breast cancer returns to the normal statistics of other women..... at least I think. You might try to google survival rates for breast cancer after 20 years. You just might get something.
      I still go for my annual mammogram because I have a remaining breast. Does your wife mean she wants to quit those too? What does she mean by saying she is doing nothing?
      take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      What would make this time different? Why submit to other check ups and not now? I would ask this. She may be fearful if something quite specific.

      It is lovely to hear of your wife's success for your family. Press her because you wish to understand her.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    How do you know if a lump is cancerous?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 9 years 2 answers
    • Kelly Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3B Patient

      A biopsy will be able to determine of a lump is malignant.

      Comment
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      They will usually do a biopsy to determine if it's cancerous

      Comment
  • Lori Schanche Profile

    How is weight gain associated with Femara?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 9 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Connie Herrick Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I am having problems with belly fat, not necessarily weight gain.

      Comment
    • rebekah alkhalifa Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      rebekahalkhalifa@yahoo.com
      Hello...
      I wish you best Compliment of the season,with hope that you are physically and healthly alright,l do believe that this mail will reach in good condition. My name is Rebekah i saw your profile in www.beyondtheshock.com and admire it, i think we can make it...

      more

      rebekahalkhalifa@yahoo.com
      Hello...
      I wish you best Compliment of the season,with hope that you are physically and healthly alright,l do believe that this mail will reach in good condition. My name is Rebekah i saw your profile in www.beyondtheshock.com and admire it, i think we can make it together, please i would like you to contact me through my email address:( rebekahalkhalifa@yahoo.com ) i will tell you more about myself, also send you my photo,as soon as you contact me back, hopping for your lovely reply soonest,
      Rebekah....

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 3

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

spread the word