Breast cancer is caused by a genetic abnormality in the genetic material of the body. It develops when the breast cells grow out of control. The cells in our body are supposed to replace themselves in an organized manner of cell growth, but abnormal changes in the genes responsible for regulating cell growth can happen. These changes can cause a cell to divide in an out-of-control way, producing more and more cells just like it. This is when tumors are created.
Tumors can be either dangerous or not dangerous. The cells of a benign tumor are almost normal in how they look; they grow slowly, they do not invade other tissues, and they don’t spread to other parts of the body. These tumors are not dangerous.
The cells of a malignant tumor are dangerous. If not treated, they may eventually spread beyond the tumor to other parts of the body. This is called metastasization. When an individual has a malignant tumor that was created by cells in the breast, she has breast cancer.
Breast cancer cells can make a pathway for themselves to other areas of the body if they get into the underarm lymph nodes. The “stage” of the breast cancer refers to how far the cancer cells have spread. The stage is also determined by how large the cancer is, and whether or not it has hormone receptors. Knowing what stage the cancer is at is important for your doctor to know so that a prognosis can be made, as well as a treatment plan.
It is important for patients to understand that developing breast cancer is no one’s fault. It’s also important to try to keep your body as healthy as possible, which means staying at a good weight; choosing not to smoke or drink excessively; eating a nutritious and balanced diet, and exercising regularly. There’s no guarantee that this will prevent breast cancer from developing, but it’s a good place to start.