Breast Cancer is a disease in which the cells, in any of the core structures of the breast (refer breast anatomy diagram below), grow uncontrollably. This abnormal behavior of cells is a result of gene mutations & abnormalities. Exposure to carcinogens or something going wrong in the cell aging process can cause these abnormalities.
Normal Cells Vs. Cancer Cells
- While normal cells grow when required and die when they are old or damaged. Cancer cells grow rapidly and live longer. This abnormal behavior is a result of genetic changes. This cell growth results in the formation of a mass called a tumor.
- Cancer cells grow surrounding breast tissue. This is a case of invasive breast cancer.
- Sometimes, cancer cells can merge with lymph or blood and travel to other parts of the body. Typically the first site outside the breast are the lymph nodes under the armpit, also called the “axillary lymph nodes”. Other common distant sites are brain, bones, lungs and the liver.
Breast cancer grows in the lobules or ducts. Lobules are the glands that produce milk. Ducts are the pipes or passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple.
Breast Anatomy (Labelled) by Anvay Wellness is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Breast_Anatomy_Sagittal_Cut_Unlabeled.jpg.
Benign Breast Tumour
An unnatural growth in breast is benign when it does not spread to other nearby tissues or other parts of the body.
Malignant Breast Tumour
A tumor is malignant if, over time, it can spread to other breast tissues and to other parts of the body. Lymph nodes, Blood Vessels provide the cancerous cells the path to reach other parts of the body. When this happens, the cancer is called “invasive” or “metastatic“.
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