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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

  • Virginia Warren Profile

    Which is more serious: the stage of the cancer or the grade of the tumor? Or are they both equally relevant to prognosis?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Virginia,

      I would be more concerned about the grade. It is indicitive as to how aggressive the cells are. No doubt about it, they are both important in the treatment of your particular breast cancer. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Kansas Girl  Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      They are both relevant but it seems that grade has more significance than stage.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    hurting under left arm pit & left side of breast, is that related to your breast

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Defiantly go to the doctor. Pain always indicates something needs attention. Could be nothing but you want to be sure.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Could be completely nothing, but anything that isn't normal in your breast area/armpit needs to be checked. If breast cancer is found, you need to catch it in its earliest stage.
      Good luck and take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My wife who is 20 has been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, I'm currently deployed and I'm worried. They have prescribed pills for her first and after 5-6 months option B is chemo. What is going to happen?

    Asked by anonymous

    about 4 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Keep the lines of communication open with your wife. You are wondering what will happen from afar and she is making appointments and facing this.

      Going organic never hurts in my opinion.

      Be positive. Many of us opt for
      Minimal surgery and follow the dr. Keep her and you looking forward to...

      more

      Keep the lines of communication open with your wife. You are wondering what will happen from afar and she is making appointments and facing this.

      Going organic never hurts in my opinion.

      Be positive. Many of us opt for
      Minimal surgery and follow the dr. Keep her and you looking forward to normal.

      You will notice changes as she emotionally processes this. You process it too.

      Best to you both.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      None of us here are able or should give medical advice or opinions, Even an oncologist wouldn't do that without reviewing your wife's medical records. Of course you are beside yourself being separated from you wife when she has had a devastating diagnosis but you shouldn't advise her either way...

      more

      None of us here are able or should give medical advice or opinions, Even an oncologist wouldn't do that without reviewing your wife's medical records. Of course you are beside yourself being separated from you wife when she has had a devastating diagnosis but you shouldn't advise her either way to get or not get surgery, Your best bet is to make sure she gets in a well respected hospital, in my opinion a teaching hospital is the best option. Your wife would then be treated by a team which in itself would guarantee oversight because the whole team works together. Best of luck to you and your wife you will definitely be in my prayers.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I will have my 1 1/2 year check up mammogram on Tuesday, I am so nervous, fear that cancer is back

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 5 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am at 6 years and have my annual mammogram the end of this month. I still worry, it is something that is always with you. The fear has become less intense over the years. Instead of worrying for weeks,now I only worry the night before.
      I am SO with Marianne.... afterward, I always sit in my...

      more

      I am at 6 years and have my annual mammogram the end of this month. I still worry, it is something that is always with you. The fear has become less intense over the years. Instead of worrying for weeks,now I only worry the night before.
      I am SO with Marianne.... afterward, I always sit in my car, cry, and thank God. I bet you will be just fine. So... do what Marianne and I do.... sit in your car, cry, and thank God. Hang in there, take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Patient

      I think we all worry because yes some are ok are we fear we are going to the the one that is not ... No one wants to be that girl again . It's plain scary no matter what !

      1 comment

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