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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

  • Jenna Lichty Profile

    What is triple negative breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Sarah Adams Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I hope this information helps! If you are under the age of 40 & have a family history of breast cancer, I recommend genetic testing for the BRCA mutation. From what I know, many women who are BRCA positive & diagnosed with breast cancer are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

      From the...

      more

      I hope this information helps! If you are under the age of 40 & have a family history of breast cancer, I recommend genetic testing for the BRCA mutation. From what I know, many women who are BRCA positive & diagnosed with breast cancer are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

      From the website: http://www.tnbcfoundation.org/index.html
      It is only in the last few years that professionals studying breast cancer have concluded that breast cancer is not one disease, but many different forms of cancer all originating in the breast. Depending on its stage of diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer can be extremely aggressive and more likely to recur and metastasize than other subtypes of breast cancer. It typically is responsive to chemotherapy, although it can be more difficult to treat because it is unresponsive to the most effective receptor targeted treatments.

      These subtypes of breast cancer are generally diagnosed based upon the presence, or lack of, three "receptors" known to fuel most breast cancers: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). The most successful treatments for breast cancer target these receptors.
      Unfortunately, none of these receptors are found in women with triple negative breast cancer. In other words, a triple negative breast cancer diagnosis means that the offending tumor is estrogen receptor-negative, progesterone receptor-negative and HER2-negative, thus giving rise to the name "triple negative breast cancer." On a positive note, this type of breast cancer is typically responsive to chemotherapy. Because of its triple negative status, however, triple negative tumors generally do not respond to receptor targeted treatments. Depending on the stage of its diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer can be particularly aggressive, and more likely to recur than other subtypes of breast cancer.

      I recommend going to the following link & scrolling down to "Download a copy of our Guide to Understanding Triple Negative Breast Cancer"
      http://www.lbbc.org/Understanding-Breast-Cancer/Guides-to-Understanding-Breast-Cancer/Guide-to-Understanding-Triple-Negative-Breast-Cancer

      Comment
    • Alison Soule Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      In other words, I'm cancer free and not on tamoxifen because triple negative tumors don't respond to it. It's scary to read about it, but a lot of the info is outdated. I just go right to my doctor and the nurses rather than Google.

      Comment
  • Robyn Doppke Profile

    I have found 2 lumps in my right breast, one at 9:00 and the other in my right arm-pit. I saw the DR today and tomorrow I am going to have a diagnostic mammo, ultrasound, and chest X-ray. Any advise

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Robyn GOOD FOR YOU! So glad you are on top of this. Please keep in mind more of these things turn out to not be cancer. You are doing the right thing and just keep yourself busy and try to occupy yourself to help keep your thoughts from going to the dark side. Turns out... waiting.... is one...

      more

      Robyn GOOD FOR YOU! So glad you are on top of this. Please keep in mind more of these things turn out to not be cancer. You are doing the right thing and just keep yourself busy and try to occupy yourself to help keep your thoughts from going to the dark side. Turns out... waiting.... is one of the worst things. Please keep us posted. We are all hoping for the very best news. Take care, Sharon

      2 comments
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      You did the right thing by making a doctor's appointment. I know it's not easy but try to relax and if you can take someone with you for your appointments. Take care, Betti

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    Has anyone had experience with or heard of occult breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I just read this... the cases I read about were axillary (arm pit) lymph nodes found to have breast cancer but no primary lesion was found in the breast. It was treated by mastectomy, chemo, and since it was ER+ PR+ Her2- hormone therapy for 5 years. Patient remained cancer free at the 5 year...

      more

      I just read this... the cases I read about were axillary (arm pit) lymph nodes found to have breast cancer but no primary lesion was found in the breast. It was treated by mastectomy, chemo, and since it was ER+ PR+ Her2- hormone therapy for 5 years. Patient remained cancer free at the 5 year point. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Elizabeth Dycus Profile

    What does a lump feel like?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 1 answer
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      There are many different types of breast lumps. A malignant (cancerous) breast lump usually has an irregular shape with a bumpy surface (sort of like a golf ball). It's usually hard and it may not be movable during a breast self-exam. If you find any sort of lump, it is important to consult...

      more

      There are many different types of breast lumps. A malignant (cancerous) breast lump usually has an irregular shape with a bumpy surface (sort of like a golf ball). It's usually hard and it may not be movable during a breast self-exam. If you find any sort of lump, it is important to consult your doctor who may then perform a clinical breast exam and/or a mammogram to help clear up a diagnosis.

      Comment

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

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