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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

  • Airyel Brayerton Profile

    What is the possibility that you would die with breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 2 answers
    • Alice Eisele Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      That is the question that everyone wants to know. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no definitive answer. Yes, some do loose their battle to breast cancer. But with new advancements everyday, more and more women are overcoming their cancer. This is not a one-size-fits-all disease, so each...

      more

      That is the question that everyone wants to know. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no definitive answer. Yes, some do loose their battle to breast cancer. But with new advancements everyday, more and more women are overcoming their cancer. This is not a one-size-fits-all disease, so each diagnosis, each treatment, is different. But with hope and support we can beat this! And all of us are proud to say "I am a survivor!"

      1 comment
    • Tracy Pie Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Breast cancer has a 90% survival rate. Yes, some people do not survive, but with the advances in medicine today, more and more people are surviving. Detecting it early is the key as with all cancers. Doing regular breast exams and getting an annual mammogram are just some of the ways to protect...

      more

      Breast cancer has a 90% survival rate. Yes, some people do not survive, but with the advances in medicine today, more and more people are surviving. Detecting it early is the key as with all cancers. Doing regular breast exams and getting an annual mammogram are just some of the ways to protect yourself.

      Comment
  • Rafi Togoo Profile

    My mother (65 years old) has stage 4 breast cancer with bone metastasis. She is advised herceptin and chemotherapy every three weeks. Chemotherapy is for 6 cycles. How long do we have to continue with herceptin?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Catherine Nodurft Profile
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      Sometimes doctors prescribe Herceptin for 1+ years, but it depends. Ask her oncologist what they recommend for your mother's case.

      Comment
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I had chemotherapy with herceptin for 5 treatments n then another 9 months, every three weeks, of herceptin.

      Comment
  • Maria Taylor Profile

    Why don't you mention alternative treatments like the Budwig Protocol, that have proven extremely effective curing breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I don't know very much about Budwig Protocal. What little I have read about it seems very based on a certain nutrition plan based treatment. You mentioned that it has been proven extremely effective in curing breast cancer. At the present date..there is no "cure" for any type of cancer. Hopefully...

      more

      I don't know very much about Budwig Protocal. What little I have read about it seems very based on a certain nutrition plan based treatment. You mentioned that it has been proven extremely effective in curing breast cancer. At the present date..there is no "cure" for any type of cancer. Hopefully one day we will have a cure. As a breast cancer patient myself...I hope and pray that I will soon be NED ( no evidence of disease/remission). In my fight against cancer, I've chosen conventional methods of treatment combined with a good diet. Some people use conventional methods combined with alternative such as acupuncture, etc. I'm not against alternative treatments and feel that anyone who has cancer has a right to choose whatever treatment they decide.

      Diana

      Comment
    • Maria Taylor Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I agree with you, that people should choose the treatment they want. However, very few know about BP. I mention it, because last year my daughter was diagnosed with BC Stage IV (mets to the lungs

      Comment
  • sylvia clark Profile

    Am having horrible headaches while going through my weekly chemo treatment. Any ideas?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Drink, drink, hydrating is very important. Talk to your onc. It might be a side effect of your chemo or other meds he has you on. Some steriods give me headaches.

      Comment
    • Lisa W Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      I had horrible headaches and my dr narrowed it down to the zofran. I stopped that, took compazine and did much better. ;)

      Comment

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