The treatment of breast cancer has become increasingly complex as we have come to understand this not as one disease but as a group of diseases. Each breast cancer has its own unique biology, and each requires specialized care.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a group of diseases where abnormal cells develop and begin to grow out of control. Quite often these abnormal cells are recognized by the body’s own immune system and destroyed. Sometimes this abnormal growth can develop into masses or tumors that can continue to grow and spread throughout the body. Cancer can also develop in cells of the blood and don’t usually form solid tumors.
Cancer occurs when changes happen to the genes in the body that are responsible for controlling how cells function, including how they grow and divide. As cancers continue to grow, it is possible for additional genetic changes to happen.
When you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, your oncologist will want to learn more about your cancer, including knowing how fast the cancer is growing and if hormone receptors are present that respond to either estrogen or progesterone. Additional imaging tests can see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
The results of these tests will give your oncologist the information needed to stage your cancer.