NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Breast Cancer - page 9

9
NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer
Version 2.2011
Definitions:
Areola:
A darker, circular
area of the skin
Connective tissue:
Supportive and binding
fibers
Diagnosis:
Identification
of a disease
Ducts:
Tubes that drain
milk from the breast
Hormones:
Chemicals in
the body that activate cells
or organs
Lobules:
Glands in the
breast that make milk
Lymph:
A clear fluid
containing white blood cells
Lymph nodes:
Small groups of special
immune cells
Metastasis:
The growth of
cancer beyond local
tissue
Nipple:
The darker, raised
part of the breasts
Protein:
Chains of
amino acid
Puberty:
The time when
teens sexually develop
The breast also contains small tubes
that carry blood and lymph. Blood
brings food to and removes cell waste
from breast tissue. Lymph is a clear
fluid that returns protein to the blood
and gathers germs. Lymph travels
between tissues, blood, and lymph
nodes, where the germs it collects are
destroyed. Lymph vessels and nodes
are found everywhere in the body.
2.2 What is breast cancer?
Cells are the building blocks that form
tissues, which in turn make up the
organs of the body. Normal cells grow
and then divide to form new cells as the
body needs them, but stop when they
have developed fully. When normal
cells grow old or get damaged, they die.
Cancer cells do not. Cancer cells form
new cells when the body does not need
them, and old or damaged cells do not
die as they should (Figure 3).
Figure 3.
Normal versus cancer cell growth
Illustration Copyright © 2011 Nucleus Medical Media,
All rights reserved.
Part 2: About my cancer
Unlike normal cells, cancer cells do not stay in one part of the body but spread to
other sites. This process is called metastasis. The uncontrolled growth and spread
of cancer cells makes cancer dangerous. Cancer cells can replace or deform
normal tissue in the breast and in other parts of the body, like the brain or bone.
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