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Diagnosis

 
Diagnosis

Chapter: 4 - Diagnosis

Subchapter: 1 - Causes of Breast Cancer

Causes of Breast Cancer

- What if it’s cancer?
- What caused it?
- What should I do now?
- How is breast cancer treated?
- How long will treatment take?
- What will it be like?
- Will I be okay?
- What about my family?

When a lump or suspicious site in your breast is detected, it raises some serious questions. In this chapter, we are going to do our best to answer them. We will discuss what doctors know and do not know, how to react to your diagnosis as well as how to understand it, and how to move beyond the shock.

Risk Factors
So what do scientists actually know about the causes of cancer? It’s a difficult question. Cancer grows when a cell’s DNA is damaged, which we discussed in Chapter 3, but why or how that DNA becomes damaged is still unknown. It could be genetic or environmental, or in most cases a combination of the two. But most patients will never know exactly what caused their cancer.

However, there are certain established risk factors that are associated with breast cancer:

- A family history with breast cancer
- Early menstruation (before age 12)
- Late menopause (after 55)
- Breast tissue that is more dense with lobular and ductal tissue relative to fatty tissue
- Noncancerous cell abnormalities

These factors are genetic, they are not something you can control.

60-70% of people with breast cancer have no connection to them at all, and other people with risk factors will never develop cancer.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    Does insurance pay for a double if the genetic test shows no BRACA?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    7 months 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      You need to check with your insurance company as what one may pay others won't.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My BRACA was also negative & insurance paid for double mastectomy with reconstruction

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have something like milk coming out of my left breast,its yellowish and thick,is that also a sign of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Any time you find something that is not normal for you, it's always best to have your doctor check it. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I think you need to go to your dr.
      To get checked

      Comment
  • Shirley Lalonde Profile

    I found out i have breast cancer but is this normal to have weird smell? For about a week now i have been smelling fish and it is really bothering me.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    almost 5 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a "phantom smell" of raw chicken that started in an auto dealership (no raw chicken there!) It continued for a few days and disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. I did some research & frankly have no answers as to why it happened. Hope yours goes away too (I felt like I was going nuts,...

      more

      I had a "phantom smell" of raw chicken that started in an auto dealership (no raw chicken there!) It continued for a few days and disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. I did some research & frankly have no answers as to why it happened. Hope yours goes away too (I felt like I was going nuts, but researching phantom smells helped).

      3 comments
    • K G Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Maybe it isn't cancer related-could you have a vaginal infecton???

      4 comments
  • Bailee Collier Profile

    I have a large egg size mass in my right breast that takes up almost all of the 9-10 o'clock region. It extends from my nipple up to my armpit. I have had an ultrasound that they are saying is normal. Has anyone else had a normal ultrasound like this???

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    5 months 2 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I'm not a doctor but what actually did the ultrasound study show other than normal? I used to do mammograms and on occasion ultrasounds and my doctors would tell me what they were seeing when they read them. I had an elderly lady one day when I was doing her mammo. that I felt a hardened area...

      more

      I'm not a doctor but what actually did the ultrasound study show other than normal? I used to do mammograms and on occasion ultrasounds and my doctors would tell me what they were seeing when they read them. I had an elderly lady one day when I was doing her mammo. that I felt a hardened area in one of her breasts (felt like a rock) and asked her if she did self exams and she said every month. Well, the surgeon felt it needed to be biopsied even though the report was negative. Turns out it was only a very old hematoma that had hardened over the years but she never felt it. You did the right thing by going to your PCP and having her check it.

      1 comment
    • Bailee Collier Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had routine visit with my PCP and had her feel it for a second opinion and she is very concerned about it and is sending me to a surgeon for a consult for biopsy. Which makes me feel better, but if the ultrasound was normal how likely would it be that the biopsy would show something else? I...

      more

      I had routine visit with my PCP and had her feel it for a second opinion and she is very concerned about it and is sending me to a surgeon for a consult for biopsy. Which makes me feel better, but if the ultrasound was normal how likely would it be that the biopsy would show something else? I have a strong maternal breast cancer hx. Thanks!

      Comment

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