NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Stage 0 Breast Cancer - page 10

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Stage 0 Breast Cancer, Version 1.2014
Breast cancer basics
Cancer growth | Review
Third, unlike normal cells, cancer cells can leave the
breast and form tumors in other parts of the body.
Breast cancer can spread to distant organs through
blood or lymph vessels that are in the stroma. This
is why it is important to find and treat breast cancer
early when it is noninvasive.
Most often, breast cancer spreads through lymph.
Lymph is a clear fluid that gives cells water and food.
It also has white blood cells that fight germs. Lymph
nodes filter lymph and remove the germs. Most of
the lymph in the breast drains to the axillary lymph
nodes found inside the armpit.
See Figure 2.
Once in
the axillary nodes, cancer cells can multiply and form
secondary tumors.
Illustration Copyright © 2014 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.
• Inside of women’s breasts are lobules that can
make milk, milk ducts, and fatty tissue called
• Breast cancer often starts in the milk ducts or
lobules and then spreads into the stroma.
• LCIS is abnormal cell growth within lobules. DCIS
is breast cancer that hasn’t spread outside the milk
• Breast cancer can spread outside the breast
through lymph or blood.
Figure 2. Axillary lymph nodes
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