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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

  • Christina Archambault Profile

    Is anyone else positive BRCA1? I got my genetics results and it was positive! I'm feeling very discouraged.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Mary Foti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I am positive for BRCA2. It was hard news to hear - I completely understand. But think of it this way - if you have already been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, you now know exactly why it happened. Most women never know what caused their cancer. Whether you have or haven't developed...

      more

      I am positive for BRCA2. It was hard news to hear - I completely understand. But think of it this way - if you have already been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, you now know exactly why it happened. Most women never know what caused their cancer. Whether you have or haven't developed cancer at this point, you will face some hard choices ahead - BUT, you now have the gift of very empowering information that can help you and your doctor make potentially life-saving decisions regarding preventive surgery and/or surveillance options. And if you choose to share your genetic testing results, you are giving that gift of potentially life-saving information for your family members. 4 of my relatives have tested positive since my diagnosis and are all taking action to reduce their future risks. Had I not had the testing, they would not have known how high their risks were. Bless you during this difficult time - I know it is VERY hard!

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I recently found out that I was BRCA positive. I was disappointed scared and cried for a week. I had a complete hysterectomy using the da Vinci robot four weeks ago. I feel great and I recommend the surgery. I still have a lot of decisions to make. I am considering taking tamoxifen. The...

      more

      I recently found out that I was BRCA positive. I was disappointed scared and cried for a week. I had a complete hysterectomy using the da Vinci robot four weeks ago. I feel great and I recommend the surgery. I still have a lot of decisions to make. I am considering taking tamoxifen. The bilateral vasectomy is still overwhelming.

      1 comment
  • Carolyn Todd Profile

    Hi I'm just wondering if a sentinel lymph node biopsy is always recommend for diagnosis or if it's only recommend if they feel the cancer has spread?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 3 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      They will do some sort of lymph node testing. My surgeon opted to remove 8 of mine (thought she had taken 6), all were negative. My breast patient navigator asked her something during my pre op appointment and if I heard things correctly she isn't comfortable doing a SLNB so does it the way...

      more

      They will do some sort of lymph node testing. My surgeon opted to remove 8 of mine (thought she had taken 6), all were negative. My breast patient navigator asked her something during my pre op appointment and if I heard things correctly she isn't comfortable doing a SLNB so does it the way they used to do it. She had said they looked OK on my MRI and would look once she was in but still took 8.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I had 5 sentinel nodes removed when I had a mastectomy. On inspection during the surgery, if they had looked cancerous, she would have taken more out of my armpit. They looked normal but, in fact, the complete pathology report came back with a micro amount of cancer cells. My stage was...

      more

      I had 5 sentinel nodes removed when I had a mastectomy. On inspection during the surgery, if they had looked cancerous, she would have taken more out of my armpit. They looked normal but, in fact, the complete pathology report came back with a micro amount of cancer cells. My stage was downgraded from a 2A to a 2B. My treatment was not changed. I had 4 rounds of AC chemotherapy and 5 years of hormone blocking therapy. I am now 9 years from treatment and feeling great. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Diane P. Profile

    how many of you have been diagnosed with 2 types of breast cancer? I was first diagnose with DCIS, then 2 weeks later, after my 2nd lumpectomy try, they found IDS.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Mary Foti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      This exact situation happened to me and unfortunately it is not uncommon. My biopsy showed DCIS but the lumpectomy pathology revealed a 1 cm IDC (tumor). I also had two lumpectomies before finally having a mastectomy. I am sorry you are going through this but you are NOT alone!

      7 comments
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Hi I was initially dx'd with dcis and once I had my surgery they found IDC small tumor. That is very common, DCIS remains in the milk ducts, it becomes IDC when it breaks out of the ducts. It sometimes changes the course of treatment also.

      2 comments
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