9 Key Terms That Could Make or Break Your Understanding of Breast CancerThe Breast Cancer Site
After getting a breast cancer diagnosis, there is much for patients to learn and process about the disease. There are different types of breast cancer one could be dealing with, and their diagnosis depends on where in the breast the cancer began to develop. Doctors use different types of imaging and lab tests to learn about the cancer, as well to determine the best treatment. While all this new information can be overwhelming, learning the important terms can help you better understand your diagnosis, as well as your best course of action. Here are nine key terms that are crucial to understanding breast cancer.
9. Cysts and Tumors
When performing your self-examination, you may feel a lump that turns out to be a cyst or a tumor. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac while a tumor is an overgrowth of cells that forms a lump. Tumors may be benign or malignant. Most cysts are caused by blockages in the body’s natural drainage systems, and they’re usually benign. Some cysts, however, can form inside tumors and may be malignant. The only way to be sure is to check with your doctor.
8. Malignant vs. Benign
Breast lumps that are found can either be malignant or benign. A malignant tumor is cancerous and can metastasize, or invade surrounding tissue, and potentially create cancerous tumors in other parts of the body. A benign tumor is a non-cancerous growth that does not have the ability to spread to nearby tissue. About 80 percent of breast lumps are benign.
To determine whether a lump in the breast is benign or malignant, a surgeon sometimes needs to remove a sample of tissue for testing. A biopsy is the removal of tissue to be examined for cancer cells. It typically requires surgical removal of the tissue, or it may be done with a needle when the lump contains fluid. If you’re undergoing a biopsy, you may be able to avoid undue stress if you remember to ask your doctor how and when you will learn your biopsy results.
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