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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

  • Tammy Duran Profile

    Just a good laugh. They put blue dye in the lymph node. So when I first went pee after surgery my 30 year old soon asked if I ate "Smurfette". That made me smile as I hope it does others

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Can I steal that line. There is always a need for a giggle on this BC journey.

      Comment
    • cris camp Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Yeah it's kind of freaky bc it's a really, really bright blue. It then d

      3 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    I just found out I got breast cancer I dont have money or insurance to pay for surgery what should I do?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Perhaps your hospital or imaging center has a patient navigator. They should be able to help you find what you need and they don't charge for their services. I used one more for comfort than anything else but she was there for me, even observed my surgery at the invite of the surgeon whom she...

      more

      Perhaps your hospital or imaging center has a patient navigator. They should be able to help you find what you need and they don't charge for their services. I used one more for comfort than anything else but she was there for me, even observed my surgery at the invite of the surgeon whom she knows very well. A hospital social worker maybe another resource available.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      check with the state you live in they might have programs for people with serious illnesses. You may also qualify for Medicaid which is a Federal program. I would do what Betti had suggested 1st...they can point you in the right direction. Don't forget about contacting your local American...

      more

      check with the state you live in they might have programs for people with serious illnesses. You may also qualify for Medicaid which is a Federal program. I would do what Betti had suggested 1st...they can point you in the right direction. Don't forget about contacting your local American Cancer society, they might also direct you. You can also "google" "help for cancer patient no insurance in (enter your state)" You have to hunt for the help....you can do a lot of searching right on the internet. Good luck to you. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • susan trego Profile

    hi I found a white small hard lump on my breast underneath. it has been there for 3 weeks now, im scared to see my doctor, what could the lump be. thanks

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      You won't know what the lump could be unless you make an appointment and see your doctor. It could be one of many things. Please make an appointment.

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It can be a lot of things. Please get it checked peace of mind is a wonderful thing. Let us know how it goes.

      2 comments
  • Carla Victor-rawson Profile

    What is "normal" swelling after surgery and what type of swelling is bad that needs to be felt with?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Cathy Wadkins Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Well you have issues of fluid, and swelling of tissues but it is normal

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Carla swelling that needs to be dealt with is angry red and hot very very sensitive. The incision maybe a little red at the incision line if that reddness continues to spread and the area gets Warmer and warmer to touch and if you get a fever (if you are taking pain meds you may not get a high...

      more

      Carla swelling that needs to be dealt with is angry red and hot very very sensitive. The incision maybe a little red at the incision line if that reddness continues to spread and the area gets Warmer and warmer to touch and if you get a fever (if you are taking pain meds you may not get a high fever ) It is okay to call your doctor if you are concerned if your doctor is unavailable you can also call the surgical center/ hospital you had your procedure done at or the emergency room and ask to talk to a nurse.

      Comment

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