What is breast cancer?

Myths and Facts of Breast Cancer

A- What is Breast Cancer (BC)?

In a normal functioning body, there is a continuous cycle where cells die and new cells are made. This happenes in a uniform, continuous pace.

Sometimes, in cell division for new cell formation, a mistake of coding happens within the new cell and this new cell does not act as a normal cell but rather continues to multiply at a very rapid pace and does not die.
The morphology of these cells are abnormal and becouse of their much eleveted need of nurishment for survival, they start attacking the surrounding tissues. These are malignant cancer cells.

Breast Cancer is not a one cell type cancer. They are named as to where they originate from (ie: the ones originating from the milk ducts are named Ductal Carsinoma. The ones originating from the lobules of the breast tissue are called Lobular Carsinoma).
When these carsinomas are confined to the place where they originate from, they are called non-invasive or in-situ cancer. When they invade into the surrounding tissue, they are called invasive cancer.
Breast Cancer also differs by their stage. The term “stage” is used to describe the extent of cancer. Cancer cells can migrate through the body within the blood and the lymph system to reach distant tissues where they can form a new cite of growth.
But the real difference is in their internal mutant genetic codes. This determines their speed of growth and their resistance to therapy.

The normal breast

breast_female_anatomyTo understand breast cancer, it helps to have some basic knowledge about the normal structure of the breasts, shown in the diagram below.

The female breast is made up mainly of lobules (milk-producing glands), ducts (tiny tubes that carry the milk from the lobules to the nipple), and stroma (fatty tissue and connective tissue surrounding the ducts and lobules, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels).