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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

    how does the hormone arimidex stop the cancer from spreading

    Asked by anonymous

    about 5 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hormone blocker.... if cancer cells linger, they are starved of the thing that makes them multiply.

      Comment
    • Rita Siomos Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes it is

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I had breast cancer 10 years ago, I recently noticed on the same breast, I have major pain and the nipple area seems to be unusually larger and scally..very painful throughout the lymph nodes could this be cancer

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I bet you already know what you need to do and the sooner the better. It is not unheard of to develop breast cancer for a second time. Any changes in breast tissue should be investigated. No one can say if this is breast cancer without much testing. Please contact your doctor's office...

      more

      I bet you already know what you need to do and the sooner the better. It is not unheard of to develop breast cancer for a second time. Any changes in breast tissue should be investigated. No one can say if this is breast cancer without much testing. Please contact your doctor's office tomorrow and have this checked asap. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Can't tell you if it is or isent please go see a dr. to get it checked

      Comment
  • Francine Williams Profile

    I had to go home with drainage. Does if hurt to have it taken out?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Kathy M Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It doesn't hurt. You will still be numb. It just feels weird. I just had my last one removed a few days ago. It feels so much better to be free of those things.

      Comment
    • Megan Lilley Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had 4 drainage tubes and was terrified to have them taken out! They didn't hurt at all. Like Kathy said, just feels weird. No pain :-).

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Am getting breast pain during period ,dat time my breast s increases I feel like dat ...is dis breast cancer symptom,

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 2 answers
    • Rikki Leigh Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Wow, sorry, I didn't finish before it threw it right up there.

      As I was saying... Lol... A simple breast examination can be done right in the office by your doctor. They will determine if more testing is needed or if you're perfectly fine.

      Good luck to you!

      Comment
    • Rikki Leigh Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Monthly pain in your breasts is perfectly normal and is caused by hormonal changes. I never had breast pain during menstruation until the last year or two. Now it feels like I have painful water balloons strapped to my chest. It is because as we age, we have many hormonal changes that can...

      more

      Monthly pain in your breasts is perfectly normal and is caused by hormonal changes. I never had breast pain during menstruation until the last year or two. Now it feels like I have painful water balloons strapped to my chest. It is because as we age, we have many hormonal changes that can honestly become bothersome.

      However, I would never want to discourage you from talking to a doctor about your concerns. I encourage that greatly in this case. Sometimes a medical professional can set our mind at ease with a sumpl

      Comment

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

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