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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    Anyone have a chemo modification? Doc says its normal. I've completed 4/6 bearable tx but ended up with a fever & dehydrated after #4. Doc says if he doesn't do a mod I'll end up in the hospital, he's reducing my dose by 25% for last 2 tx, this normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I had to stop my chemo at 5 tx instead of 6, i was just too sick n my blood work was awful. My onco felt that 5 was enough as i had a very small ICD tumor and would still had another 9 months of herceptin. It is very common, from what i understand, to modify treatment plan.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Sonia,
      As I call it ~a course correction~ they do happen all the time. It is quite common if a woman can't tolerate the chemotherapy, oncologists adjust the dosages or how many courses a patient has. Sounds like you have a very wise, intelligent, thoughtful oncologist. Don't worry, he is doing...

      more

      Sonia,
      As I call it ~a course correction~ they do happen all the time. It is quite common if a woman can't tolerate the chemotherapy, oncologists adjust the dosages or how many courses a patient has. Sounds like you have a very wise, intelligent, thoughtful oncologist. Don't worry, he is doing his job well. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have had biopsy done with grade three cancer. I recently had lumpectomy my marins were close. should I have breast removed? The dr didn't check my sentinale lymph nodes.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 4 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Do you know what stage you are? Node biopsy is sometimes done with stage 0, and is the standard of care for invasive breast cancer. You might want to get a second opinion from another doctor. Many women have to go back a second time to get clear margins. It is not too uncommon. But,...

      more

      Do you know what stage you are? Node biopsy is sometimes done with stage 0, and is the standard of care for invasive breast cancer. You might want to get a second opinion from another doctor. Many women have to go back a second time to get clear margins. It is not too uncommon. But, again, I would get a second opinion. Is your doctor a breast surgeon?

      Comment
    • sherry scott Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My cancer is stage 2. I have grade 3 tumor cells. My medical oncologist said she would give me chemo but I've had open heart surgery. She said chemo causes CHF. I know cancer is aggressive. Why did my surgeon not tell me about this? Should I get it removed!!!

      7 comments
  • Connie Larson Profile

    How many different Types of Breast Cancer are there?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 3 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Breastcancer.org is a great resource and explains the different kinds of breast cancer. Keep the questions coming! We are here for you!

      Comment
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Too many

      Comment
  • norma crutchfield Profile

    What type of cancer is DCIS?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • tina piser Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      dcis is stage 0, or pre cancer. dcis can be ductal or lobular. some docs now consider dcis cancer and others pre cancer. listen to your intuition, get 2nd opinion if you aren't happy with what your doc has told you so far.

      3 comments
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common NON invasive breast cancer! Ductal means is in the milk ducts. In situ, or encapsulated, means the tumor is in it's early stages, inside it's capsule. Better to understand is like a bubble that didn't rupture yet so the tissue around is,...

      more

      Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common NON invasive breast cancer! Ductal means is in the milk ducts. In situ, or encapsulated, means the tumor is in it's early stages, inside it's capsule. Better to understand is like a bubble that didn't rupture yet so the tissue around is, probably, contaminated!

      Comment

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

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