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Breast Cancer

 
Breast Cancer

Chapter: 3 - Breast Cancer

Subchapter: 3 - Types of Tumors

Remember, a tumor is a mass of abnormal tissue. There are two types of tumors: those that are non-cancerous, or ‘benign’, and those that are cancerous, which are ‘malignant’.

Benign Tumors
When a tumor is diagnosed as benign, doctors usually leave it alone rather than remove it. Even though these tumors are not aggressive toward surrounding tissue, they may continue to grow, pressing on organs and causing pain or other problems. In these situations, the tumor is removed, allowing pain or complications to subside.

Malignant Tumors
Malignant tumors are cancerous and aggressive, because they invade and damage surrounding tissue. When a tumor is suspected to be malignant, the doctor will preform a biopsy, a diagnostic procedure which we will cover in Sub–Chapter 4.3, to determine the severity of the tumor.

Metastatic Cancer
Metastatic cancer is when cancer cells of a malignant tumor spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymph system, and form a secondary tumor.

Tumor Grades
Tumor grading is a system used to classify a malignant tumor based upon the severity of the mutation and the likelihood that it will spread. According to the National Cancer Institutes's tumor grading system, there are four grades: low grade (1), intermediate grade (2) and two types of high grades (3 & 4). Grade 1 tumor cells, for example, are the least aggressive in behavior; they still resemble healthy cells and multiply at a slower rate. Higher grade tumors tend to grow and spread more rapidly than tumors of a lower grade.

Tumor grades are not to be confused with cancer stages, which we will discuss in detail in Chapter 5.

In this chapter, we looked at where cancer usually begins, reasons why it grows, how it spreads, the importance of evaluating the tumor for certain receptors, and the difference between benign and malignant tumors.

Now it’s time to get a better understanding of your diagnosis.

Related Questions

  • Yvonne Bechtel Profile

    I've been having pain in my left breast and now it has moved into my under arm area as well as into My back My left breast is very sensitive. No insurance any suggestions for where to get help?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Yvette LeBlanc Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yvonne,

      Definitely get that checked out! The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) provides mammograms to women who cannot afford them. Find a list of our partner facilities on the map here: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/About-NBCF/Programs.aspx

      If there is not a facility that we...

      more

      Yvonne,

      Definitely get that checked out! The National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) provides mammograms to women who cannot afford them. Find a list of our partner facilities on the map here: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/About-NBCF/Programs.aspx

      If there is not a facility that we partner with near you, call your local hospital. Most hospitals have programs in place that help women who cannot afford mammograms.

      Kaye, the breastcancersite.com actually helps raise money to fund NBCF mammograms! Great resource.

      Good luck!

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Yvonne,

      What both Yvette and Kaye have said I second and third! You can also check with Planned Parenthood, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I'd also check with the American Cancer Society chapter in your area. Please get some help as soon as you can for, at least, your own peace of mind. ...

      more

      Yvonne,

      What both Yvette and Kaye have said I second and third! You can also check with Planned Parenthood, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I'd also check with the American Cancer Society chapter in your area. Please get some help as soon as you can for, at least, your own peace of mind. This is a terrible weight of worry to be carrying around. You will be happy to know so many of these things turn out to be NOT breast cancer! Please keep in contact with us.... we are here to support any woman if you need us. Hang in there and thankfully, there is help out there for you. Big hugs, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What happens after a CT scan?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 1 answer
    • Laura Cornwell Profile
      anonymous
      Industry Provider

      It depends where a patient is in their breast cancer journey.

      In the beginning of breast cancer diagnosis, a CT or oftentimes a PET scan (a CT that tumors light up on) is used to look for distant disease beyond the breast. Breast cancer can be by itself in the breast, it can spread to the lymph...

      more

      It depends where a patient is in their breast cancer journey.

      In the beginning of breast cancer diagnosis, a CT or oftentimes a PET scan (a CT that tumors light up on) is used to look for distant disease beyond the breast. Breast cancer can be by itself in the breast, it can spread to the lymph nodes, then in late stages it can spread to places such as the lung, liver, bones, or brain.

      CT scans are interpreted by radiologists. Typically this means that there is a period of days before the CT scan report is made available to the breast cancer doctor. The breast cancer doctor then reviews the report with the patient at their next visit. Depending on the results of a CT scan, many things can happen. Typically, if a cancer is still in the breast and lymph nodes, surgery will be performed and chemo or radiation may follow. If cancer has spread to distant sites, chemo would be the main treatment course.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Does anyone has invasive lymphovascular?? And what does that mean? I am scared to death as my lymph nodes are negative from cancerous cells. Help!!!!!!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I tried looking it up and I couldn't understand the explanation. For your own knowledge and especially your peace of mind, you should have a talk with your oncologist. There are so many findings in each and every woman's individual tests. What might be on one woman's pathology report would be...

      more

      I tried looking it up and I couldn't understand the explanation. For your own knowledge and especially your peace of mind, you should have a talk with your oncologist. There are so many findings in each and every woman's individual tests. What might be on one woman's pathology report would be completely different than yours. Even if two women have the same diagnosis, individual cells will tell an entirely different story. Treatments are really specifically for each and every woman, and we are all treated as individuals.... there is no "One size fits all" in cancer diagnosis and treatment. You are so worried because you don't have the whole story yet. This is a particularly scary place to be. Please call your doctor tomorrow so this diagnosis can be explained to you. We have all been in the place where you are now, and it is not a good place to be. Hang in there and please stay in contact with us. We completely understand and want to help and support you as much as we can. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • Sabrina Higgins Profile

    Just was diagnosed with stage 2, treatment is removal and chemo for 4 months . Just would like to know what to expected after surgery and chemo

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Welcome! A cancer diagnosis is scary and overwhelming. Thanks for reaching out. Are you having a lumpectomy or mastectomy? Reconstruction? What type of chemo? This info will help us share some tips and experiences. Allow people to do things for you. It makes them feel good to be able to...

      more

      Welcome! A cancer diagnosis is scary and overwhelming. Thanks for reaching out. Are you having a lumpectomy or mastectomy? Reconstruction? What type of chemo? This info will help us share some tips and experiences. Allow people to do things for you. It makes them feel good to be able to help and you will feel loved! It helped me to take the anti nausea meds as directed. Use plastic utensils to help with the metal taste. Keep hydrated and rest when you need it. Eat small meals and keep bland snacks on hand. I liked graham crackers. Hope you have a smooth surgery and recovery. Keep the questions coming. We are here for you!

      Comment
    • Roz Potenza Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Hi Sabrina,

      Each stage of this journey you are on has it's own set of needs. You'll start with what you will need with the surgery, depending on what kind you are having. You will then have brandy new needs for chemo and once again with radiation. We will help you each step of the way if you...

      more

      Hi Sabrina,

      Each stage of this journey you are on has it's own set of needs. You'll start with what you will need with the surgery, depending on what kind you are having. You will then have brandy new needs for chemo and once again with radiation. We will help you each step of the way if you have any questions. Right now just focus on what's next for you. You have a lot of information coming at you and it's hard to process it all. Take someone with you, if you can, on doctor appointments so there is another set of ears to help listen. Being prepared for each step will help you greatly. I wish you the best today, tomorrow and always. Roz

      Comment

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