Cancer occurs when there are changes also known as mutations in the genes that regulate cell growth. These mutations let the cell divide in a chaotic and uncontrolled manner. The cells keep multiplying and producing unwanted copies that get more abnormal with time. Eventually, in most cases, these copies eventually form a tumor.
Breast cancer as the name suggests is cancer that develops in the breast cells. This kind of cancer either forms in either the lobules or the ducts of the breasts. Lobules are the glands that produce milk and ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple. Cancer can also be present in the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue within the breast.
The uncontrolled and chaotically growing cells can often invade other healthy cells of the breast tissue and can travel to the lymph nodes under the arms. The lymph nodes are a primary pathway that helps cancer to move to other parts of the body. HER2 positive breast cancer is any type of cancer that expresses the HER2 protein also known as the HER2/new a protein responsible for cancer growth and propagation.
15-25% of Breast cancer is HER2 positive which happens to be the most aggressive form of cancer. As the treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer is different, all breast cancer tissue is tested for it. The surgically removed tissue sample is tested for hormone receptor status (estrogen and progesterone receptors), as well as HER2 positive tumors because HER2 positive tumors grow faster than the tumors that do not show the HER2 protein in their diagnosis.
However, the recurrence rate may be dependent on the extent of the spread of the tumor and the time and stage of diagnosis along with its characteristics. The development of anti-HER2 therapies has significantly improved the outlook for patients suffering from the HER2 Positive breast cancer.
When cancer spreads into surrounding or adjacent tissues, it can also be termed as infiltrating cancer. Cancers spreading from breast’s milk ducts can be termed as infiltrating ductal carcinomas. Cancers spreading from the breast lobules are also known as infiltrating lobular carcinomas.
The most serious and lethal/dangerous cancers- any place they arise or whatever their type maybe are the metastatic cancers. Metastasis translates to the fact that cancer has spread from the place of its origin i.e. it has traveled from the original tumor site to some other site. Lymph nodes are one of the most common places for the breast cancer to metastasize or move away from especially the ones under the arm or collarbone.
Other common sites are the brain, the bones, and the liver. Cancers that have spread only to the lymph nodes under the arm are still relatively easier to cure. The ones that have spread to inoperable regions and far away from the original site are much more difficult to treat are not easy to cure even with the treatments available today. Although they may not be able to cure it the breast cancer doctor/specialist will most probably be able to keep cancer at bay and prolong the life of the patient.