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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    Do you have any inspirational quotes, lyrics, or verses to get you through rough times? Please share your favorites!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Samantha (Admin) Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      "She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails" - Elizabeth Edwards

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      "What doesn't kill me will only make me stronger." Through any type of difficult time in my life, I knew, I would grow in knowledge and strength from the experience. I always had the idea that even on my worst days, I would get better. I felt confident I would walk through the fire of...

      more

      "What doesn't kill me will only make me stronger." Through any type of difficult time in my life, I knew, I would grow in knowledge and strength from the experience. I always had the idea that even on my worst days, I would get better. I felt confident I would walk through the fire of treatment and come out the other side, a winnerl I knew why I was given the burden of having breast cancer.... it was because I am a blabbermouth and would yak it up to other women to get mammobrams and do self checks. I run an email information service for my horse community. (Vast majority are women) I told them when I found out I had breast cancer and I encouraged them to get their checks done because mine was found in an early stage. I also wanted to show women, the diagnosis of breast cancer is not a death sentence. I didn't want to keep my disease a secret because I wanted no rumors going around. Even when I was going through chemotherapy, I carried on my life as close to normal as possible. I wanted to shine the light of day on breast cancer and SHOW people what it was like. I received wonderful support and received a lot of positive feedback about yearly checks. I also had several women share they were going through scares of ultrasounds and biopsy's and hope I was able to help them get through it. Only one woman having DCIS and another woman had stage 1 IDC, both successfully treated and back to life again. I never question why, if by divine reason, I was chosen to have breast cancer... I talk too much! Live your life to it's fullest, help and love other people, Take care, Sharon

      2 comments
  • Maura Foley Profile

    I want to thank all of you for the strength and support I have gathered from all of you as I help my sister through the toughest battle of/for her life!

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Thoughts and prayers for you and your sister there is light at the end of that tunnel.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Maura,
      You are a wonderful REAL sister to help your's through a very tough time. We know what she is going through but she will get through it, especially with your help. Some days are just more difficult than others but she is going to make it. We are sending our love, prayers and positive...

      more

      Maura,
      You are a wonderful REAL sister to help your's through a very tough time. We know what she is going through but she will get through it, especially with your help. Some days are just more difficult than others but she is going to make it. We are sending our love, prayers and positive thoughts both you her and you too. God's blessings, Sharon

      Comment
  • Dec.25,2013 December Profile

    Found a pretty big lump on my right breast. What are the chances it being cancerous?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Leah Fortune Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I wanted to chime in on the comment about why we were all here. Because unfortunately we are the 1 we are the 20 percent. Most women are not going to be on this site until they are diagnosed. So many women are shy and do not post. If I only had fibrous breasts or a cyst I more than likely would...

      more

      I wanted to chime in on the comment about why we were all here. Because unfortunately we are the 1 we are the 20 percent. Most women are not going to be on this site until they are diagnosed. So many women are shy and do not post. If I only had fibrous breasts or a cyst I more than likely would of never found this site. I'm here to learn to encourage and give my experience. It's okay to be upset with the cancer diagnosis , we do have more private forums for when we are mad and angry . For a newly diagnosed and not diagnosed we want to guide them properly so they will come back and have a safe place, not scare them away.

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      You need to see your doctor so they can check it. They may order some imaging studies, too. Please do see a doctor.

      Comment
  • mary wightman Profile

    my mammo was abnormal i have to go for another mammo and ulyrs sound does mean I have breat cancer I am just so ill smpked and drank aged 65

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      HECK NO! I don't know how many times I have had to have another mammogram and ultrasound. There is just something that has either changed or they screwed up your mammogram and need another one. Try not to get too excited yet. At your ultrasound appointment, they will explain what they are...

      more

      HECK NO! I don't know how many times I have had to have another mammogram and ultrasound. There is just something that has either changed or they screwed up your mammogram and need another one. Try not to get too excited yet. At your ultrasound appointment, they will explain what they are looking at. Hang in there. I had breast cancer when I was 59 but I found it. This was 7 months after I had a mammogram and ultrasound. As for guilt tripping yourself because of bad habits.... I NEVER smoked or drank, no family history, led a squeaky-clean life and STILL got breast cancer. GUILT, is a wasted emotion.... hang in there and keep us posted. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Guilt can start a change whether you are diagnosed or not. Choose wisely for yourself. No reason not too but the talk in your head Hope it is clear.

      Comment

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

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