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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

  • Norma Crutchfield Profile

    what is the outlook for a person with invasive ductral and invasive lobural cancer

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 3 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Breast cancer is NOT a death sentence. I had both IDC and DCIS diagnosed with biopsies but the surgical specimen also showed a 2nd area of IDC and LCIS. I've had surgery, chemo., rads., and am now on a hormone blocker and think positive thoughts every day. Think positive thoughts as you go...

      more

      Breast cancer is NOT a death sentence. I had both IDC and DCIS diagnosed with biopsies but the surgical specimen also showed a 2nd area of IDC and LCIS. I've had surgery, chemo., rads., and am now on a hormone blocker and think positive thoughts every day. Think positive thoughts as you go through this journey called breast cancer and you will be fine, I believe in my future being bright and so can you.

      Comment
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      As Betti said, breast cancer isn't the life sentence it once was. So many new treatment available now. Everyone is different and you don't have an expiration date so trust in your team, do everything you can to get rid of the cancer, stay positive and live a long happy life. Prayers to you.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is it common to have both Invasive and Non Invasive Breast Cancer in the same area?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 3 answers
    • sandy glisman Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Yes, I had invasive adenocarcinoma and dcis in the same breast. Hope i helped!!

      Comment
    • Coco Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I cannot cite you a scientifically valid statistics so cannot give you clear stats about whether this is common or not.

      I can tell you I had 6mm invasive tubular carcinoma of the right breast along with less than 5% of non-invasive DCIS - all in the same patch of flesh. Not just in the same...

      more

      I cannot cite you a scientifically valid statistics so cannot give you clear stats about whether this is common or not.

      I can tell you I had 6mm invasive tubular carcinoma of the right breast along with less than 5% of non-invasive DCIS - all in the same patch of flesh. Not just in the same breast but in the same location.

      So it is certainly possible for this to happen - presumably even more than two types - but I have no reliable data on how common this is.

      Comment
  • Valerie Rotella Profile

    My grandmother and sister had breast cancer. What kind of cancer is hereditary?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 1 answer
    • Janelle Strunk Profile
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      Before you decide that cancer runs in your family, first gather some information. For each case of cancer, look at:

      Who is affected? How are we related?
      What type of cancer is it? Is it rare?
      How old was this relative when they were diagnosed?
      Did this person get more than one...

      more

      Before you decide that cancer runs in your family, first gather some information. For each case of cancer, look at:

      Who is affected? How are we related?
      What type of cancer is it? Is it rare?
      How old was this relative when they were diagnosed?
      Did this person get more than one type of cancer?
      Did they smoke?

      Cancer in a close relative, like a parent or sibling (brother or sister), is more cause for concern than cancer in a more distant relative. Even if the cancer was from a gene mutation, the chance of it passing on to you gets lower with more distant relatives.

      Breast cancer is a cancer that can be hereditary. A family history of breast cancer does put you at increased risk for breast cancer. A woman who has a first-degree relative (such as a mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer is about twice as likely to develop breast cancer as a woman without a family history of this cancer. Still, most cases of breast cancer, even those in close relatives, are not part of a family cancer syndrome caused by an inherited gene mutation.

      The chance that someone has an inherited form of breast cancer is higher the younger they are when they get the cancer and the more relatives they have with the disease. Inherited breast cancer can be caused by several different genes, but the most common are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Inherited mutations in these genes cause hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (HBOC). Along with breast and ovarian cancer, this syndrome can also lead to male breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, as well as some others. This syndrome is more common in women of Ashkenazi descent than it is in the general U.S. population.

      This is why it is so important for you to have an early detection plan. You can creaste a plan at www.earlydetectionplan.org. This plan takes into account your risk profile and age. Of course, if you notice any changes in your breasts, you should consult your physician.

      1 comment
  • susan Richmond Profile

    Any of you ladies been diagnosed with stage 4 I DC ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Paula McLaughlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Susan--I had two different primary tumors in the same breast (with 8years in between). Both tumors were small and Stage I IDC. Last year, a CT scan showed that the cancer had spread to my AP

      Comment
    • Paula McLaughlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Oops--pressed a wrong button...anyhow, the second cancer spread to my spine so now, I have stage IV breast cancer metastases. It's very scary, of course, yet there are many effective treatments available. There's every reason to hope for quality of life and years to enjoy that life. I had a...

      more

      Oops--pressed a wrong button...anyhow, the second cancer spread to my spine so now, I have stage IV breast cancer metastases. It's very scary, of course, yet there are many effective treatments available. There's every reason to hope for quality of life and years to enjoy that life. I had a mastectomy on the right side and get monthly injections that have made the lesions in my spine become stable. Everyone's cancer is unique and requires u ique

      Comment

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