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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    I recently found a lump so I bought health insurance. Am worried that since I have to wait 3mo before its active, the lump & risks will grow. If I get tested before insurance kicks in, it won't pay for treatment. (if cancerous) Any thoughts?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I agree with Lysa

      Comment
    • Natalie Grant Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Go get check... Early detection is key to beating this!!! Forget about how you going to pay. If you don't have insurance there are a lot of resources out there like the cancer society that will help you out. MAKE APPOINTMENT ASAP!!!!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I had mammogram/ultrasound done on 9/29/15 which resulted in a biopsy on 1/7/15. It came back as cancer. I have an appt with oncologist in 3 days. Shew The bills have already started showing up. Glad I found this site. I have so many questions.

    Asked by anonymous

    over 2 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      We aren't doctors here but patients or family members just like you. We can try and answer any questions you may have but it would be from our experiences and isn't medical advice.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Tammy, so sorry you had to join this group. We will try to give you the information you need. We can only tell you of our experiences while going through treatment. I had a mastectomy, by choice, and my treatment plan included chemotherapy and 5 years of hormone blocking drug therapy. I have...

      more

      Tammy, so sorry you had to join this group. We will try to give you the information you need. We can only tell you of our experiences while going through treatment. I had a mastectomy, by choice, and my treatment plan included chemotherapy and 5 years of hormone blocking drug therapy. I have been out of treatment and cancer free for 8 years.
      Take somebody with you for your consultation with the oncologist. Have them take notes because some of the stuff will go right over your head. Never be afraid to ask questions. During your treatment, never be afraid to call the office and ask about side effects you are having. You will need to be your own best advocate. If something didn't seem right to me, I asked questions when I needed answers. Never feel "You are bothering them" your care team is there to get you through this. Many women will contact this board when they really need to be talking to their oncologist. There are many different types of breast cancer, different stages, different grades, and different treatments. Treatments have chanced since I had it. Nobody's treatment is the same. They will change something due to many factors in your diagnosis. Your treatment will be made up depending on your particular cancer and all the finding. Hang in there, you will make it. Sharon

      Comment
  • Rosemarie Tiburcio Oligo Profile

    what are the stages of breast cancer

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 1 answer
  • Mary Foti Profile

    My mother's breast cancer recurred and is now stage 4. We are both positive for the BRCA2 mutation. I also had breast cancer in 2010. Does my mother's cancer recurrence mean my cancer will come back, too? We were both stage 1 when we were diagnosed.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2010
    about 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      That is very unfortunate news and I am sorry to hear it. I don't think it means that your cancer will return but I think it might be an idea to talk to your doctor about the options to help reduce the chance of it reoccurring. It might be an idea to consider a bi lateral mastectomy if you...

      more

      That is very unfortunate news and I am sorry to hear it. I don't think it means that your cancer will return but I think it might be an idea to talk to your doctor about the options to help reduce the chance of it reoccurring. It might be an idea to consider a bi lateral mastectomy if you haven't already. I have stage 2 IDC and don't have the gene but still chose to have a bilateral for my own peace of mind.

      Comment
    • Trish Watt Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Mary, Sorry to hear of the reoccurrence. I never had the test for BRCA2 but I went through 5 years of watching and waiting. The mental roller coaster I was on was more stressful than deciding and having a bi lateral mastectomy. Making that decision literally and physically lifted a big weight off...

      more

      Mary, Sorry to hear of the reoccurrence. I never had the test for BRCA2 but I went through 5 years of watching and waiting. The mental roller coaster I was on was more stressful than deciding and having a bi lateral mastectomy. Making that decision literally and physically lifted a big weight off of my shoulders. I had Stage I triple negative breast cancer which is a very aggressive type. Having the mastectomy was the best decision I ever made and I don't regret it at all. I'm sure you are younger than I was when diagnosed but who wants that hanging over your head. When you make the decision, and it has to be yours, you'll know it was the light one. Blessing and prayers for your family.

      Comment

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

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