Shelly Agarwal, MD
- obstetrics & gynecology
Location and Office HoursPronger Smith Medical Care
17495 La Grange
Tinley Park, IL 60487
How do hormones affect breast cancer treatment?
Aurora Health Care answeredEstrogen and progesterone are hormones that are produced by your ovaries. These hormones help your normal breast cells grow and can help some cancer cells grow. It's good if your breast cancer cells have hormone receptors. Doctors can treat these cells with medicine that reduces estrogen in your body and they can be treated with medicine that keeps estrogen away from receptors. Different treatment is available if the cancer has no receptors.
How do most cancer cells spread from their original site?
Michael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredCancer cells have developed a mechanism of replicating faster than other normal cells-making cancer cells stronger and faster than other cells in your body.
While they grow quickly, they can't grow by themselves. Just as a plant needs water or a child needs vitamins, cancer cells also need nutrients to grow. The one thing that cancer cells want more than anything else is energy. If the cells don't get it, then they'd actually kill themselves off because they'd outgrow their energy supply.
The most successful cancers (well, successful from the point of view of cancer, meaning the cancers that grow large enough to be detected by your immune system and to be harmful) often find ways to grow supply lines in the form of attracting blood vessels to them.
Once they can establish those supply lines, it's like attaching an oxygen tank to someone under water-it gives them a pathway to breathe and sustain themselves. And in cancer, that's what gives them a lifeline to live and grow-and helps them eventually spread to other areas of your body.
Since they're belligerent cells, cancer cells decide which blood vessels they want to take to other organs. They can surround regular tissue and dominate the organ they've invaded, and as they cluster together, they can form tumors-a clumped mass of cancer cells-to block the normal functioning of that organ.
Cancer cells also don't have the stickiness that other cells have, so they can slip away through their newly created blood vessels and spread to other parts of the body-very often to the liver, lungs, and brain where metasteses frequently occur.
Typically, cancer likes to escape to and grow in areas with lots of blood, which is why it's common for cancer from one area to jump and grow in another organ. And cancer loves traveling through the lymphatic system (the body's waste disposal program) to the closest lymph nodes, which is why doctors always examine these areas carefully.
Find out more about this book:YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger
What is a trachelectomy?
A trachelectomy is the removal of the entire cervix, or opening to the uterus. Once the cervix is removed, we keep the uterus open, by attaching it to the innermost, or top part, of the vagina. If a patient gets pregnant, we use a stitch, or cerclage, to keep the opening closed to hold the pregnancy.
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