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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    Should I be concerned about a 9mm cyst or cluster of cyst on left breast with calcifications seen ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I believe a second opinion would ease your mind. It would mine. Most insurance companies cover second opinions. Best wishes, jayme

      Comment
    • Lysa Allison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had the same thing and when they did the biopsy, it was DCIS. You have so many more options when it is diagnosed early. My advice- get a biopsy. Best of luck to you.

      1 comment
  • Kristianne Rice Profile

    I had an MRI done and they ruled one side benign and the other "probably" benign with no biopsy and want me to wait 6 months. Should I worry?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Adrienne private Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3C Patient

      What type of doctor did you see? I would ask someone experienced with breast cancer, personally. Also age doesn't matter- I was 35 when diagnosed. Usually a 6 month wait is to see if nodule/growth grows/changes. Were there tumors? be sure to tell doctor of any family history too.

      Comment
    • Kristianne Rice Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I saw my family doctor. I want to get a second opinion though, she hasn't really told me anything that's going on. She also didn't tell me where the things were found. The lumps are near the outside toward the armpit, but the questionable one is near the 6oclock area.

      Comment
  • Alice Klobukowski Profile

    What is a dense breast?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Are you asking if anyone has dense breasts? I'm not sure I understand the question?

      Comment
    • Alice Klobukowski Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I goofed up here and don't know how to erase/delete this error. I wrote another post concerning the fact that I never understood that having dense breasts is a factor in the increased risk of developing an aggressive tumor, which I did.

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Should I not have surgery because I am 89 years old? I have a lump in my breast, but have not been diagnosed.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      As the patient.... you have an absolute right to choose whether you want surgery or not. On the other hand, there isn't a reason why you shouldn't have surgery, if that is what you want to do. Plenty of mature folks have surgery all the time for whatever needs to be corrected. Usually women...

      more

      As the patient.... you have an absolute right to choose whether you want surgery or not. On the other hand, there isn't a reason why you shouldn't have surgery, if that is what you want to do. Plenty of mature folks have surgery all the time for whatever needs to be corrected. Usually women have a choice to have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Who knows.... you could live to be 120!!!!! Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Elaine Mills Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      A lot depends on your health. Some doctors will do all they can to keep an elderly person from undergoing anesthesia. My oncologist told me that if we live long enough, ALL of us women get breast cancer. Please see your gynocologist and see what they say!

      Comment

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

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