How does breast cancer grow and spread?
To grow, malignant breast tumors need to be fed. They
get nourishment by developing new blood vessels in a
process called angiogenesis. The new blood vessels
supply the tumor with nutrients that promote growth.
As the malignant breast tumor grows, it can expand
into nearby tissue. This process is called invasion.
Cells can also break away from the primary, or main
tumor and spread to other parts of the body. The cells
spread by traveling through the blood stream and/or
lymphatic system. This process is called metastasis.
When malignant breast cells appear in a new location,
they begin to divide and grow out of control again as
they create another tumor. Even though the new tumor
is growing in another part of the body, it is still called
breast cancer. The most common locations of metastatic
breast cancer are the lungs, liver, bones and brain.
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