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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    If it was really bad do you think my team would tell me? I'm waiting to get information on my cancer stage as I'm having chemo first. I do know that the grade is 2 and I have at least 1 node affected, a mixed dx in the same breast. My CT scan is clear.

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Now I understand why your team is putting off the staging until after your preliminary treatment as they are expecting the tumor to shrink. It makes perfect sense. Hang in there and hopefully that tumor will get a whole lot smaller. Please keep in touch with us. Big hugs and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      There are actually different circumstances where oncologists would recommend chemo 1st. Many, many, reasons that don't paint a bleak picture in the least. As for hiding something from you.... I do not think they do that. When I was having my biopsy, the doctor told me to "expect this to come...

      more

      There are actually different circumstances where oncologists would recommend chemo 1st. Many, many, reasons that don't paint a bleak picture in the least. As for hiding something from you.... I do not think they do that. When I was having my biopsy, the doctor told me to "expect this to come back as breast cancer..." There was nothing "warm and fuzzy" about her statement.
      The next time you have an appointment with him/her, take a friend, or relative with you. They can be your scribe and take notes. Your job is to ask questions and get answers. I really believe lack of information is the most terrifying thing about having breast cancer. I remember when I heard all of the facts, including the pathology report, I finally knew all the answers to all my questions. I knew how we were going to proceed and the treatment plan was in full view. There was something much more reassuring and almost comfortable in finally having that knowledge. Please stay in touch with us here. We have all been where you are and really want to support our sisters in this journey. You will be ok... it is just one foot in front of the other and one appointment at a time.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Mary George Profile

    Just diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, left breast and one node. No details about size or grade until next week. Looking for light at the end of the tunnel. Would appreciate any info on length of treatment and surgery choices made by others.

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 6 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Welcome to the Pink Sister Club.. They are an amazing group. Glad you are reaching out. I had the same exact diagnosis - mastectomy, reconstruction with expander then saline implant, 4 rounds of AC, 2 years Tamoxifen and 5 years of Arimidex. 10 years after my bc diagnosis, I am doing great!...

      more

      Welcome to the Pink Sister Club.. They are an amazing group. Glad you are reaching out. I had the same exact diagnosis - mastectomy, reconstruction with expander then saline implant, 4 rounds of AC, 2 years Tamoxifen and 5 years of Arimidex. 10 years after my bc diagnosis, I am doing great! Thank God! It will be a grueling year... take one day at a time, do things that bring your joy, allow others to do things for you, cry in the shower when you need to and you will get through this! Keep the questions coming! We care about you!!!

      1 comment
    • Lisa Gainey Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Mary! Just take a minute and breathe! There are so many options and treatments available. Your onc will discuss what they feel is the best treatment for you. I have stage 4, and have undergone radiation and currently am undergoing chemo weekly. We refer to it as my "wkly maintenance and...

      more

      Hi Mary! Just take a minute and breathe! There are so many options and treatments available. Your onc will discuss what they feel is the best treatment for you. I have stage 4, and have undergone radiation and currently am undergoing chemo weekly. We refer to it as my "wkly maintenance and tune up". I am not a candidate for surgery yet, but my day will come. Keep a positive outlook and know that there are many of us fighting this together. Keep smiling!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Why do a second digital mammogram after the initial one rather than ultrasound to look at a suspicious area?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Not all suspicious areas are found on ultrasounds. My pin point suspicious area on the mammogram was further seen on a diagnostic digital mammogram which they are able to do magnificated views. Where as on the ultrasound they could not find the area. The suspicious area did turn out to be DCIS...

      more

      Not all suspicious areas are found on ultrasounds. My pin point suspicious area on the mammogram was further seen on a diagnostic digital mammogram which they are able to do magnificated views. Where as on the ultrasound they could not find the area. The suspicious area did turn out to be DCIS caught very early and small. An ultrasound will show a mass or fluid filled cyst but cannot show scattered calcification. The usual course for an abnormal mammogram report is a follow up diagnostic mammogram with magnificated views followed by ultrasound or MRI

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      It has been my experience that the insurance makes the doctors jump through a few less expensive hoops before they get to go for the best diagnostic tool. :-( Jo

      Comment
  • sam baer Profile

    How can you tell the difference between breast tissue and a lump?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Sometimes it is difficult to tell. If it doesn't feel normal or something that was not there before it needs to be checked ASAP! That is why breast self-examinations are so important. A woman needs to know her own body and know if something has changed. It can, literally save her life. That...

      more

      Sometimes it is difficult to tell. If it doesn't feel normal or something that was not there before it needs to be checked ASAP! That is why breast self-examinations are so important. A woman needs to know her own body and know if something has changed. It can, literally save her life. That is how I found the lump that turned out to be cancer.... 7 months after my regular mammogram. Sharon

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I never had a lump.

      Comment

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