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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

    Biopsy results May 5th was secondary angiosarcoma due to Radiation 10 yrs ago. Has anyone been through this successfully?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2004
    over 3 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      It sounds like you are in good hands. I did see a study, that I believe may still be ongoing. It was 9 years after, and women who had the entire radiated area excised had not had a recurrence. I think that lumpectomy would be risky , and there would be a better chance of cancer not recurring, ...

      more

      It sounds like you are in good hands. I did see a study, that I believe may still be ongoing. It was 9 years after, and women who had the entire radiated area excised had not had a recurrence. I think that lumpectomy would be risky , and there would be a better chance of cancer not recurring, with mastectomy with good wide margins. Best wishes on your recovery.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      It must be rare....I have never heard of it although, cancer can be a side effect of lots of treatments. I hope you keep us posted as you go through treatment. Have faith darlin' and take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • Madelyn Bunn Profile

    Is breast cancer a genetic trait?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It can be. In my case I do have the genetic mutation BRCA2. But a bunch of other things can cause the cancer, actually nobody has an specific answer for what cause a cancer.

      Comment
    • Gail Horton Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It can be genetic or environmental.

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    what is a noggell

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anonymous,
      I think you need to check the spelling because I sure don't have a clue. What is this in reference to in regards to breast cancer?
      Sharon

      Comment
    • Elaine Mills Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      If this is the word you are trying to spell, I think nodule?

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    what is the difference between triple negative breast cancer and mestatic breast cancer

    Asked by anonymous

    about 3 years 3 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      This is my understanding of the 2 but I'm not a doctor. Triple negative means the tumor is negative for Estrogen, Progesterone, and the HER2 factors. Metastatic BC means it has spread outside the breast to other areas of the body. There are some great videos on this site that explain things in...

      more

      This is my understanding of the 2 but I'm not a doctor. Triple negative means the tumor is negative for Estrogen, Progesterone, and the HER2 factors. Metastatic BC means it has spread outside the breast to other areas of the body. There are some great videos on this site that explain things in easy to understand phrases, etc.

      Comment
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Indeed.
      The negative is assessment of how it feeds. The other assesses location beyond the breast. Lymph node involvement though is not considered this.

      Comment

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