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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    I just found out I got breast cancer I dont have money or insurance to pay for surgery what should I do?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Perhaps your hospital or imaging center has a patient navigator. They should be able to help you find what you need and they don't charge for their services. I used one more for comfort than anything else but she was there for me, even observed my surgery at the invite of the surgeon whom she...

      more

      Perhaps your hospital or imaging center has a patient navigator. They should be able to help you find what you need and they don't charge for their services. I used one more for comfort than anything else but she was there for me, even observed my surgery at the invite of the surgeon whom she knows very well. A hospital social worker maybe another resource available.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      check with the state you live in they might have programs for people with serious illnesses. You may also qualify for Medicaid which is a Federal program. I would do what Betti had suggested 1st...they can point you in the right direction. Don't forget about contacting your local American...

      more

      check with the state you live in they might have programs for people with serious illnesses. You may also qualify for Medicaid which is a Federal program. I would do what Betti had suggested 1st...they can point you in the right direction. Don't forget about contacting your local American Cancer society, they might also direct you. You can also "google" "help for cancer patient no insurance in (enter your state)" You have to hunt for the help....you can do a lot of searching right on the internet. Good luck to you. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Nikki De France Lucas Profile

    I'm 3 weeks post mastectomy and my arm and armpit swelling is worse and still alot of numbness in the same area anyone else have this experience? I'm scheduled for physcial thearpy and possibly a sleeve tomorrow..feeling like recovery is going backwards

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I had a double mastectomy in June. I still have numbness and at times a burning like tingling under my armpit (kind if my upper side area) and sometimes my arm feels heavy. I saw a physical therapist who says I don't have Lymphedema. I do however have this annoying cord thing that goes thru my...

      more

      I had a double mastectomy in June. I still have numbness and at times a burning like tingling under my armpit (kind if my upper side area) and sometimes my arm feels heavy. I saw a physical therapist who says I don't have Lymphedema. I do however have this annoying cord thing that goes thru my armpit. Therapist said it will eventually pop or dissolve. My aunt had a mastectomy with lymph node removal 13 years ago and said she still has numb areas. I think it's just part of the whole procedure. Nerve endings were removed, maybe some don't repair. Good luck.

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a mastectomy on August 27 two months later I started noticing swelling in my arm and I unfortunately got Lympadema on my right arm because of the removal of 16 of my lymph nodes. I'm doing therapy now it's supposed to help bed but from what I understand it's not something that goes away...

      more

      I had a mastectomy on August 27 two months later I started noticing swelling in my arm and I unfortunately got Lympadema on my right arm because of the removal of 16 of my lymph nodes. I'm doing therapy now it's supposed to help bed but from what I understand it's not something that goes away ever...God is yet good

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    How is breast cancer linked to ovarian cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
  • Thumb avatar default

    what does it mean to have a mass?And is this something to be worried about?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      It generally means there is something that has shown up on a mammogram or through a physical exam that is unidentifiable. You will need further testing to make sure it isn't cancer. Just as Michele says.... most lumps (or masses) are benign. Right now, this lump doesn't look like normal breast...

      more

      It generally means there is something that has shown up on a mammogram or through a physical exam that is unidentifiable. You will need further testing to make sure it isn't cancer. Just as Michele says.... most lumps (or masses) are benign. Right now, this lump doesn't look like normal breast tissue. BUT... that does not mean it is cancerous. Have it checked asap for your own peace of mind. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      It is understandable to be worried when you hear you have a mass. 80% of breast lumps are NOT cancer! A biopsy will let you know for sure. Wishing you good news! Please keep us posted. Take care.

      Comment

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