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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How You Get Boobs In Your Brain

...........What happened to the man who lost the whole left side of this body?...He is alright now!...............................So today I wanted to educate my readers on the basics of breast cancer. Breast cancer happens when a normal breast cell's DNA gets damaged. It could be from environmental exposures, diet, genetics, or hormones Who knows?... there could be hundreds of reasons. If we knew them all we would probably have a cure. So one damaged cell replicates into two, two turns into four, four turns into eight, and pretty soon your have a tumor. These tumor cells can also break away from the tumor site and travel through the body's highways, the circulatory system or the lymphatic system. These two systems are like two parallel highways. The circulatory system is faster because it has a pump, the heart. The lymphatic system carries fluid and filters toxins and viruses, etc in the lymph nodes. I kind of think of lymph nodes as little traffic cops. They tell the bad stuff to pull over and get off the highway. Some bad things pull over and accumulate in the lymph nodes and some keep traveling until the next node "pulls them over". So some of these breast cancer cells leak out and travel through the body, but they are really looking for somewhere to land and take root. Often times they take root in the brain, the lungs, liver, skin, etc. Then tumors may form. So lets just say these cells take root in the brain. You now have breast cancer cells in the brain.  A breast cancer cell looks different than a brain cancer cell or lung cancer cell, etc. This is when you say the breast cancer has metastasized to the brain. When breast cancer has spread to an area of the body other than its original location it is considered stage 4 breast cancer. Although there are some tumors of the brain that are considered brain cancer whether or not they originate from another location.  Not real exciting but that is the "short and sweet" of it. So in essence you have some boob cells in your brain, just not healthy ones.

Most breast cancer cells have receptors that test positive for progesterone, estrogen, and HER2. Basically what this means is the tumors are being fed by certain hormones. Scientific research has developed some incredible drugs which keep the hormones from feeding the tumors. That encompasses 85% or more of all breast cancers. Many women will go through chemo and radiation and take one of these drugs for 5 years to keep the tumors from coming back.

Then there are these nasty little buggers. They are aggressive tumors. Their cells test negative for progesterone, estrogen, and HER2. They are not being fed by hormones so scientists don't know how to keep them from coming back. This is triple negative breast cancer, or TNBC. It is not known what feeds these tumors. They tend to mostly be grade 3 more, aggressive and faster growing. They are also more likely to reoccur than other tumors. They are more likely to spread to other parts of the body. This is the type of cancer I have, triple negative breast cancer. It has only recently been discovered and it's the "hot topic" in many areas of breast cancer research. So much is being done right now to find better treatments and some targeted therapies for TNBC. As of now, chemotherapy and radiation are the only methods of treatment. There are some experimental drugs which focus on cutting off the blood supply to the tumors, but only experimental.
In two days I will undergo my third round of chemo. Chemo kills rapidly growing cells, and hopefully will kill any of those "buggers" that are out there in my body trying to take root. I hope this helps give you a better idea about what happens when someone has breast cancer.

Most people have never heard about triple negative breast cancer. I hope you will read my entire blog. I also ask that if you are joining this page through my link on FACEBOOK that you click on "share" under my posting and share this blog with your friends. Do it everyday because awareness is the key and we have to get triple negative's ugly name out there.  Until next time my friends.

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