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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

  • Anyonmous Chixk Profile

    If I have an inverted nipple, does this mean I have breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 2 answers
    • Patty Ashworth Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Please go see your doctor and get a mammogram. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I had the same issue. The digital mammogram caught it. Pay attention to your body.

      Comment
    • tina piser Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      some people it's natural. if it's new for you, I can't stress enough to run to doctor. I had same thing and had dbl mastectomy in dec of 08. was stage 2a and it came back may 10 and iam fine now. mine was felt, confirmed by Mamogram, and again by ultrasound.. please call obgyn and tell them you...

      more

      some people it's natural. if it's new for you, I can't stress enough to run to doctor. I had same thing and had dbl mastectomy in dec of 08. was stage 2a and it came back may 10 and iam fine now. mine was felt, confirmed by Mamogram, and again by ultrasound.. please call obgyn and tell them you need breast exam for inverted nipple that isn't normal

      Comment
  • Mary Anne Babicky-Bouton Profile

    Has anyone found a lump in other breast while going through final radiation treatments? Have 5 more to go and found something/lump in right breast. Had lumpectomy on left side in Jan.

    Asked by anonymous

    stage_4 Patient
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      No, I have not. I had a bilateral mastectomy. But you know your body best. If there are changes - or you feel something, get it checked. Better to be safe than sorry. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Check with your medical onc or radiation onc. From what I understand it's unlikely that you'll get cancer in the opposite breast. But check for peace of mind!

      Comment
  • Katy Shaxter Profile

    I have a 7 year old, 9 year old and 11 year old. How do I tell them that mommy has breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Katy I think honesty is the best. Explain to them what is & will happen to you. Answer their questions. They may not even have any. Stay strong & let them help you in any way they can. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Susan Hohstadt Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Also be sure to share with their teachers what is going on. This will help them in understanding the kids might act differently. Your school counselor should also be able to help.

      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
    over 5 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

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