Monday, November 16, 2009

Help me Google?

I emailed the Nurse Navigator at the hospital to ask what type of cancer I have, and she just emailed me back:


I am dying to Google it and find out what that IS, but I am unfortunately going to be late for a meeting if I don't leave now. Anyone want to Google it for me and comment back here to let me know what you find?? Apparently it's a really rare type of BC.

Thank you thank you!!


  1. whoa. i'm going to need the worlds biggest medical dictionary & a couple more cups of coffee before i can understand like 97% of what i am reading here. still, i am working on it!

  2. OKAY!

    "cribriform" means that the cancer cells invade the connective tissue of the breast in nestlike formations between the ducts & lobules. in the tumor there will be distinct holes between the cancer cells making it look like swiss cheese. this kind is usually low grade, meaning the cancer cells will look & behave much like normal healthy breast cells.

    mucinous carcinoma is a rare form that begins in the milk duct & spreads beyond it. it represents about 2-3% of all breast cancers. the tumor is formed from abnormal cells that float in pools of mucin (a key ingredient in mucus).

    mucus lines most inner surfaces of our bodies. many types of cancer produce some mucus. in MC, however, the mucus becomes a main part of the tumor and surrounds the BC cells.

    the weird part is that this type of cancer is usually found in woman who have gone through menopause & are generally over 60 years old.

    THE GOOD NEWS is that MC is less likely to spread to lymph nodes than other types of BC & it is also easier to treat.

  3. thanks, andee!! WOW, that is very strange, that I have a rare form of BC usually found in women over 60. I'm so glad to know it's less likely to spread to lymph nodes than other types of BC. Great news!

  4. And from Stanford University:

    - Long term survival reported to be 100%
    - Systemic metastases are very rare
    - Cribriform carcinoma is by definition low
    - Estrogen receptor positive
    Diagnostic criteria:
    - Irregular cribriform growth pattern
    - Nuclear grade 1 in at least 90% of the cells
    - Myoepithelial cells absent on immunohistochemical stains


  5. Okay, I don't know what the last three lines mean ... ;-)

  6. britta, as i read this i was's as if the mucin is encompassing the bc cells and keeping them isolated...& before i read this i had been envisioning the bc cells as encapsulated somehow...the rest of your body is protected. G likes the stanford 100% long term survival rate data :)xo c & g

  7. thanks, mom!
    and wow, C, thank you for envisioning the encapsulated BC cells to protect the rest of me... sounds like that's indeed what the type of BC i have is!! the doctor did say that if you have to have cancer, this is the best kind to have. and yes, G, that "100% survival rate" data made me smile so big when i read it, too.

  8. Yay!!! I will try to never say a negative word about mucous ever again, seeing as it totally rules!

    (((Hugs, Ladyfriend.)))


  9. to translate those last three lines:

    1. Irregular cribriform growth pattern- the cells are in a nest like pattern with spaces in between them (See Andee's "swiss-cheese" description above.)

    2. Nuclear Grade 1- they grade cancer cells on how different they are from normal cells. Normal cells (be they epithelial or blood or some other tissue) generally have a nucleus and little organelles within them (mitochondria, etc.) Anyways, i know i can look at say... an epithelial cell and know exactly what it's supposed to look like. It's supposed to have a round nucleus that is so big and it's supposed to be this shape and this size... Cancer cells start growing all crazy and are IRREGULARLY SHAPED (spikey and squiggly when they should be round, HUGE nuclei, multiple nuclei, etc.)

    What this means is- britta's boob cells are slightly irregular compared to normal healthy cells. Not horridly irregular, but irregular nonetheless. And they are specifically referring to the nuclei of the cells (her nuclei are only kinda weird.)

    And yeah, i catch weird cells from time to time on the urine specimens i run at work. It doesn't happen too often, but sometimes i'll see cells from the inside of the bladder that are just TOTALLY screwed up. Like- cells with two nuclei or REALLY HUGE nuclei that take up the entire cell, or cells that stain weird-ly. I hate finding that stuff- it's like, "oh fuck, i just found cancer..."

    #3- they're talking about how cells take up stains in the lab. They use different dyes on slides to make cells show up better under the microscope... different dyes work different ways, some cells take up stain in a certain way, blah blah blah.

    I'm such a nerd.
    <3 steph

  10. Too funny, Shawna! I will still be complaining about the mucous in my NOSE...stupid allergies! Ha!

    Steph, thanks for the detailed explanations!!