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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    Anyone with an Oncodx score of 78 or higher.

    Asked by anonymous

    almost 4 years 2 answers
    • Jill M. Profile
      anonymous
      stage_2a Patient

      Yes - I hit 79

      Comment
    • Edie Parsons Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Well mine was 78 and doctor acted like he had never had a patient with a score that high. I wasn't scheduled to do either radiation or Arimidex but after such a high score did the radiation......uuuuggggh. But the score troubled me because I read mostly about women with much lower scores. ...

      more

      Well mine was 78 and doctor acted like he had never had a patient with a score that high. I wasn't scheduled to do either radiation or Arimidex but after such a high score did the radiation......uuuuggggh. But the score troubled me because I read mostly about women with much lower scores.

      Thanks for letting me know I am not the only one in the universe with a high score!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have a lump and have been told it may be a cyst. Am waiting for further tests. Can breast cancer make you sleepy? I've been very tired for a while now and am wondering if this could be part.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Traciann brundage Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I don't want to alarm you but I felt really different when I found mine . A few weeks before my mood and habits seemed to change . Cysts can change hormones also .

      8 comments
    • Jo Thomas Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      When I found my lump, I felt completely normal. I suggest that you try not to worry until you need to. I pray your lump is just a cyst

      Comment
  • Rebecca Buell Profile

    How likely am I to get breast cancer if it runs in my family?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 2 answers
    • Laura Gaspard Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      If you have a grandmother, mother, sister, or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, this does put you in a higher risk group. Have a baseline mammogram at least five years before the age of breast cancer onset in any close relatives, or starting at age 35. See your physician at any...

      more

      If you have a grandmother, mother, sister, or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, this does put you in a higher risk group. Have a baseline mammogram at least five years before the age of breast cancer onset in any close relatives, or starting at age 35. See your physician at any sign of unusual symptoms.

      Comment
    • Adrienne private Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3C Patient

      Also, you can consider getting genetic testing for the brca gene, which puts one at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Some insurance companies pay for the test.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    If a woman scratches her breast nipple and the surrounding observing a scaling stuff could it be a symptom of breast cancer

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      We can't tell you what this is. There is a type of breast cancer that does have some changes to skin but it is rare. Check with your doctor.

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Any changes to one's body should be checked by a doctor.

      Comment

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