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Metastasizing cancer cells can often be found in areas in the body such as the liver, lungs, brain, and the skeletal system. But someone whose cancer has spread to the liver will still have the primary diagnosis of breast cancer, because that is where the cancer originally began. Another way to think of it: Once a breast cancer cell, always a breast cancer cell. Even though it is possible for a tumor of the breast to send spread and cause a tumor elsewhere, modern medicine has devised ways to seek and destroy breast cancer cells that have the potential to metastasize. If you feel uncomfortable about the subject, ask your doctor any questions you might have about metastases.
A breast is quite simply a gland that produces milk. Inside every woman's breasts the milk-producing sacs are called lobules, and there are ducts that lead from the lobules to the nipple. The remainder of the breast is mainly fat, with blood and lymph vessels running through it. The ducts are the starting point for most malignant tumors. In addition to ductal breast cancer, tumors can form in the lobules, as well in the other tissues of the breast. It is a good idea for women to know their breasts, inside and out. Get online and look at diagrams of the structure of your breast as displayed on the American Cancer Society's Web site. In this way, should a related discussion ever come up with your doctor, you will know what is meant by the terms, "Ducts" and "Lobules".
Breast cancer cells are not always predictable, often affecting the breast in different ways and growing at different rates. Some cancers are lazy and grow slowly. Others find fertile growing ground in the breast tissue and grow rapidly. Though doctors generalize the disease into certain breast cancer types, like invasive breast cancer or advanced breast cancer, you should not try to compare one case of breast cancer to another. Learn about breast cancer types and how they are different. One patient may recuperate easily after a simple lumpectomy, but another patient might need a radical mastectomy. Similarly, your grandmother may have died of her breast cancer, but there is no certainty that you will also.
Metastasis is the term used to describe the spread of cancer from its origin to other parts of the body. Breast cancer metastasis occurs when a tumor in your breast tissue sheds some of its cancerous cells, which then find a way out of the breast to other organs. Left untreated, breast cancer that has metastasized can become quite difficult to manage and treat, and some deaths due to breast cancer have been caused by this process. However, while some breast cancer types metastasize more quickly and efficiently than others, early detection and treatment is the best defense.
The breast pathology report is a summary of the information that has been collected about your breast cancer, both from your doctor's observations and from the pathology department. This report will contain information discovered after analyzing tissue that was surgically removed from your breast. The pathology report will reveal the condition of your breast that can lead to other tests that need to be done. As a result, different parts of the pathology report may be sent to you or your doctor at different times. Only when all the information has been collected should you sit down with your doctor to decide your course of treatment. Your doctor will fully explain the type and stage of breast cancer discovered, and the suggested treatment course. It is also a good idea to retain a copy of the full pathology report in case you ever move, decide to change doctors, or have questions about your breast cancer in the future.
Cancer cells will enter the blood and lymph vessels and travel to all other areas of the body. These cancer cells will then find new homes in other tissues, colonizing them and causing a widespread cancer to develop in that organ. After the doctor has confirmed a non-metastatic breast cancer, the goal is to identify and remove a tumor before it has a chance to send out cancer cells to other organs. Therefore, take to time to learn more about the different breast cancer types.
Early and advanced breast cancer, are distinguished in terms of how far the breast cancer has progressed, not the age at which the woman is diagnosed. Early breast cancers are typically limited to a single tumor or area of the breast, and are easier to treat because a surgeon can often remove all the cancerous areas. Any cancer cells that might remain are often removed with a round of radiation therapy. Advanced breast cancer, on the other hand, has had a chance to spread, both throughout the breast and into other tissues of the body. Surgery alone cannot always rid the body of advanced cancer. Treatment becomes more difficult, but the prognosis can still be optimistic. If the stage of your breast cancer concerns you, try to get in touch with a support group where you can talk to survivors of all stages.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|