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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

  • lori simas Profile

    I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and I am freaking out... Is it bad to research on-line?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! I heard that Beyond the Shock was created specifically to help you to get beyond the shock of diagnosis. The informational videos were created with a team of medical experts, so the information you get from these is legitimate. I would recommend...

      more

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! I heard that Beyond the Shock was created specifically to help you to get beyond the shock of diagnosis. The informational videos were created with a team of medical experts, so the information you get from these is legitimate. I would recommend watching these (http://beyondtheshock.com/learn). It is okay to be wary of some information that you get online, but there are some good sites such as nbcf.org and cancer.org.

      Hope this helps!

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Lori, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have breast cancer as well. I was diagnosed on May 19th of this year. It's a shock when you first find out and scary. There are so many advances in medicine and SO many resources out there for us! As far as going to the web...there are some...

      more

      Hi Lori, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have breast cancer as well. I was diagnosed on May 19th of this year. It's a shock when you first find out and scary. There are so many advances in medicine and SO many resources out there for us! As far as going to the web...there are some great sites that have a wealth of information and some to steer clear of. A few of the good legitimate sites I recommend are breastcancer.org (my fav which has great medical info as well as discussion boards to be able to get support and useful info from other women that have been in our shoes) , komen.org, and cancer.org. Those are my three fav. Your local American cancer society is a great source as well. They can send you packets of info and so much more including getting involved with a support group so you can be able to share how you're feeling with other women. I hope this has helped you.
      I wish you all the best in your journey,

      Diana

      Comment
  • Robin Bailey Profile

    Should you tell people when you have stage 0?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 3 answers
    • Gail Horton Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I say YES, because you are a great example of why early detection is so important! :)

      2 comments
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I agree you should tell, I did. I am also stage 0

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default
  • leslie adkins Profile

    For those that don't have children or close siblings. Did you do the gene test, and why.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      There is no history of BC in my family (except for my father's aunt, who died at 87 of an unrelated illness). I have had breast cancer twice -- when I was 44 and when I was 56. After the second diagnosis they suggested the test and I am BRCA2+. As it turns out my sister is, as well. She...

      more

      There is no history of BC in my family (except for my father's aunt, who died at 87 of an unrelated illness). I have had breast cancer twice -- when I was 44 and when I was 56. After the second diagnosis they suggested the test and I am BRCA2+. As it turns out my sister is, as well. She wouldn't have known it unless I had been tested.
      I have had a bilateral mastectomy and my ovaries have been removed.

      The thing about the mutation is that it's in your entire family line, maternal or paternal. So even if you don't have siblings or children, there's a chance that other (even distant) family members may also have the mutation. From my perspective it was worth the test so my family can be more vigilant.

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I didn't have testing even though I am an only child and have no children. I had no relatives on either side of my parents families, cousins etc. who even had any kind of cancer. I was diagnosed at 59 postmenopausal ER+ PR+ Her2- I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have the testing. Although...

      more

      I didn't have testing even though I am an only child and have no children. I had no relatives on either side of my parents families, cousins etc. who even had any kind of cancer. I was diagnosed at 59 postmenopausal ER+ PR+ Her2- I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have the testing. Although Evelyn's story is enough to make on sit up and take notice. I really think my breast cancer was caused from over exposure to diagnostic radiation on my breast where breast cancer was found.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment

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