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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

  • 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 4 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
  • gima green Profile

    Did anyone decide not to take Tomoxafin but instead try to get there hormones balanced?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      No. Those of us who are estrogen positive feed the cancer every day. Tamoxifen is needed to help block - not balance, estrogen in our bodies. If you value your life, please reconsider and take it. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am not a doctor, and certainly not an oncologist who has spent years and years, learning all about cancer.
      I would never dream of trying to figure out my own way of treatment just because I read something on the internet about the "natural" way of treatment. I had 5 years of hormone...

      more

      I am not a doctor, and certainly not an oncologist who has spent years and years, learning all about cancer.
      I would never dream of trying to figure out my own way of treatment just because I read something on the internet about the "natural" way of treatment. I had 5 years of hormone blocking treatment and took Letrozole. I had horrendous hot flashes but altered my life to make the best of it. The outcome..... I am in year 9 post treatment. I took the poison and all the rest because there is no proven way of alternate treatment. This is the best we have.
      People get wrapped up in the sales job of --snake oil-- on the internet. The stories are fantastical but can they really be proven?
      I am particularly sensitive to this because my best friend tried to go her own way. She died because she refused conventional treatment.
      It is your body, and you can do what you choose. I didn't second guess my oncologist or any of the other specialists I went to. Balancing estrogen.... for an estrogen positive cancer? I am with Marianne.... no estrogen. Good luck, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Mums has been diagnosed with grade 3 nst. With 6 months of chemo then removal/mammogram after. Parents say everything will be ok but are they protecting me. Is it usual to do chemo first and isn't grade 3 more advance?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      It depends on each individual , but chemo can be first.

      Comment
    • Rita Jo Hayes Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      My strong chemo was first. Then double mass, then follow up with herceptin and hormone therapy. Each person's situation is an individual journey. A good strong support system and positive attitude is very helpful. Good luck to you n your mums.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have tingling and numbness in my fingers at night and it prevents a restful nights sleep. Does anyone have the same problem? I finished with all BC treatment two months ago.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Sounds like neuropathy which can affect you long after treatment is over. I believe your oncologist can prescribe something to help. Check it out.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thanks so much , I will ask him on my next visit this week.

      1 comment

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

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