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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

  • sonali Singh Profile

    What thinks r good t eat during chimo

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 3 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      I ate bland foods and small portions at a time. Because of the metal taste caused by chemo, I used plastic utensils and it helped. Keep the questions coming. We are here for you!

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Whatever tastes good as for everyone that's different and may be different from what you usually eat.

      Comment
  • Sandra Kocher Profile

    invasive ductal carcinoma, er-pr- her2 over expressive positive, grade 2, stage 2, 3cm. What is the better one to have, a lumpectomy or a mastectomy? So, far, after the lumpectomy, radiation, then herceptin with combination of other drugs maybe.

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Roxann C Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I highly recommend that you have an MRI to check if there are microcalcifications (ie "cancer sprinkles") in any other quadrant of your breast. This will help you decide.

      I also recommend genetic testing to check if you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. This will also help you decide.

      You should...

      more

      I highly recommend that you have an MRI to check if there are microcalcifications (ie "cancer sprinkles") in any other quadrant of your breast. This will help you decide.

      I also recommend genetic testing to check if you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. This will also help you decide.

      You should also know that radiated skin is difficult to stretch. So if you do breast reconstruction after radiation, your results may not favorable.

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi, me again! It depends on how aggressive you want to be. What is your doctor recommending? I decided to go with a mastectomy both times, on the chance that there was cancer beyond the original site. In my case there was so I'm glad I did it. Many, many women opt for the lumpectomy, though....

      more

      Hi, me again! It depends on how aggressive you want to be. What is your doctor recommending? I decided to go with a mastectomy both times, on the chance that there was cancer beyond the original site. In my case there was so I'm glad I did it. Many, many women opt for the lumpectomy, though. In some cases it's a matter of personal choice.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    After breast reduction path showed DCIS, got 2nd option ADH both breast, 3rd option from Vanderbilt ADH in 1 breast only. Recommendation Close monitoring no tamoxifen. Anyonei with such mixed diagnosis? Still somewhat nervous...

    Asked by anonymous

    about 5 years 3 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Wow. That's really confusing. It is unusua

      Comment
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      It is unusual to get three opinions that do not agree. Did the second and third opinions completely rule out DCIS? I would want to be clear on that issue. Did they say why no tamoxifin? Unless you have a family history of bc, it would be usual to be closely followed. I'm sorry you are going...

      more

      It is unusual to get three opinions that do not agree. Did the second and third opinions completely rule out DCIS? I would want to be clear on that issue. Did they say why no tamoxifin? Unless you have a family history of bc, it would be usual to be closely followed. I'm sorry you are going through this confusion about your diagnosis, but I would want to confident , and would get another opinion if I was not.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    85 years old just diagnosed, do I go through treatment?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      This is so difficult to answer because we are all different and realize there are many different types of breast cancer. The woman who stated she was 65 and had inflammatory breast cancer..... that type of cancer is extremely aggressive and the treatment is also extreme or else you are dead.
      I...

      more

      This is so difficult to answer because we are all different and realize there are many different types of breast cancer. The woman who stated she was 65 and had inflammatory breast cancer..... that type of cancer is extremely aggressive and the treatment is also extreme or else you are dead.
      I had Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer and was diagnosed at 59. It was a rather aggressive form. I chose to have a mastectomy but I could have chosen a lumpectomy. Because I chose mastectomy, I didn't have to have 6 weeks of radiation. I had 4 rounds of chemo. and 5 years of taking a daily pill. I felt the treatment was reasonable and not terrible. I am 7 years out from my treatment and except for missing a breast, I am absolutely healthy and enjoying my life.
      You need to talk to your oncologist and see what treatment would be for your case. My neighbor who is in her late 70's had a later stage breast cancer and is taking a hormone blocking drug. While it did not get rid of her cancer, it stopped it from progressing.
      There are usually different ways of treating breast cancer but it depends on your individual type of breast cancer, the stage, and how aggressive it is. Just as we are all different.... so are our breast cancers. You need more information. Take along a family member, or good friend to take notes and hear what the oncologist has to say.
      We do care about our "sisters" and please keep in touch with us. Best to you, Sharon

      Comment
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I think a lot would depend on your general health and the type and stage of cancer. My mother , also in her 80's, had a lumpectomy and radiation twice a day for five days. But, this was for stage 0 breast cancer. She tolerated that treatment well.

      Comment

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

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