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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

    I was told yesterday that I have intraductal carcinoma in my left breast. My doctor has referred me to a general surgeon. Is this normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I'm sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. I was diagnosed with IDC as well last May. In my opinion I would not be seeing a general surgeon. You really need a surgeon that specializes in breast cancer. If you're unsure of where to go....a good source of information is available through the...

      more

      I'm sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. I was diagnosed with IDC as well last May. In my opinion I would not be seeing a general surgeon. You really need a surgeon that specializes in breast cancer. If you're unsure of where to go....a good source of information is available through the American Cancer Society. It's very crucial you choose someone knowledgeable in that field, and that you're comfortable with. There are a great group of ladies on this site. I'll be thinking of you and please come back to let us know how you are. :)

      Comment
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      After my abnormal mammogram, I was also referred to a general surgeon with 30 years of experience. He did do my lumpectomy and still follows me every six months and does breast exams. He did an excellent job and i have been told that when i got a second opinion when I was trying to figure out...

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      After my abnormal mammogram, I was also referred to a general surgeon with 30 years of experience. He did do my lumpectomy and still follows me every six months and does breast exams. He did an excellent job and i have been told that when i got a second opinion when I was trying to figure out what chemo regimen was right for my cancer. I believe if I needed a mastectomy with reconstruction, he would have referred me to a specialist.

      Comment
  • Judy Carr Profile

    Diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday - how do I tell my kids?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • lynda dew Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      That was the hardest thing about any of it. We sat our two children down. We named two of our friends who went through the same thing. We told them that I went to the doctor and we had some news. My daughter started to cry and sobbed "no, no". I held her and reminded her that those two women...

      more

      That was the hardest thing about any of it. We sat our two children down. We named two of our friends who went through the same thing. We told them that I went to the doctor and we had some news. My daughter started to cry and sobbed "no, no". I held her and reminded her that those two women fought hard and they won the fight and I was going to do the same. My daughter said "you don't even look sick". I explained that that day was the sickest I was going to be. I told them that when I looked tired, lost my hair and looked really sick to say a prayer and thank God for chemo because the worse I looked, meant that it was working. Five months of chemo, lumpectomy, bi-later mastectomies and six weeks of radiation, I am in full remission and plan on being here for a long time. Tell your kids, comfort them, be strong and keep them involved. They won't be scared if you are honest (what they can handle at their age).. Good luck:). I'm praying for you.

      1 comment
    • Bobbi Sidorenkov Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Judy, I struggled with the same question. My son is 10. My husband and I sat him down and we told him that the Doctors found some changes in my chest and that I would have to have surgery. Then we went on to explain that I would also need treatments that would cause my hair to fall out. I...

      more

      Judy, I struggled with the same question. My son is 10. My husband and I sat him down and we told him that the Doctors found some changes in my chest and that I would have to have surgery. Then we went on to explain that I would also need treatments that would cause my hair to fall out. I made sure that he understood that I would get better and that we need to do everything the Doctors told us to do. Reassuring him that in the end, I was going to be ok seemed to help. In the end, he seemed most worried about me losing my hair. I told him that I was not so happy about that part either but I did ask him if he wanted to come with me when I get my head shaved (have not crossed that bridge yet). I think it is most important to tell the truth and ask them if they have questions. Good luck to you....

      Comment
  • Holly Stroup Profile

    How many people are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the state of Arizona?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years Answer
  • Thumb avatar default

    Found a lump in breast,breast clinic had mammogram then ultrasound core biopsy and fna, lady who did ultra sound and biopsy said it looked serious and said the word cancer, then consultant appointed me a McMillan nurse and he mentioned malignant.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Welcome to our world. When I felt my lump, it felt bad. The doctor who did my biopsy told me to expect a malignant outcome....which was just the way it turned out. OK so that was the bad news. The good, is I went through treatment almost seven years ago and I am alive, healthy and cancer...

      more

      Welcome to our world. When I felt my lump, it felt bad. The doctor who did my biopsy told me to expect a malignant outcome....which was just the way it turned out. OK so that was the bad news. The good, is I went through treatment almost seven years ago and I am alive, healthy and cancer free. We can all tell you there is life after breast cancer. Stay with us here, we can share our experiences with you. If this does turn out to be cancer, there is a lot of treatment and as scary as it is, there is a lot worse things out there hang in there and take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Much like you and Sharon D, right from the start, my lump was believed to be invasive cancer. Your oncologist , or other doctor, will go over biopsy results with you. If you do have bc, a treatment plan will be made for you, based on your individual situation. I know I felt better just having...

      more

      Much like you and Sharon D, right from the start, my lump was believed to be invasive cancer. Your oncologist , or other doctor, will go over biopsy results with you. If you do have bc, a treatment plan will be made for you, based on your individual situation. I know I felt better just having a plan of action to follow. Try to take someone with you when your doctor goes over the pathology report with you. That will help you remember what questions to ask, and to help remember what was said.

      1 comment

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

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