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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

  • dimple jain Profile

    are the reports showing ductal carcinoma confirmation of breast cancer? or it includes further tests to confirm?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      If you had a biopsy and it showed ductal carcinoma that is your confirmation.

      Comment
    • Mary Navarro Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Yes. The word carcinoma means cancer. Your doctors will probably suggest surgery, chemo and radiology, depending of course what they find during surgery. Then you will meet with the oncologist and radiologist.

      Comment
  • Traciann brundage Profile

    Diagnosed Wednesday and hematologist said chemo would likely kill me . So double mastectomy it is . And radiation . Did anyone go through therapy also . My doctor asked me to because I am 27 .

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I agree, I'd get a second opinion. No doctor should ever tell you something "would kill you". I was 29 when I was diagnosed and went through chemo, lumpectomy, radiation and now tamoxifen. There are a lot of factors that go into your treatment plan. Get another opinion before you decide! At...

      more

      I agree, I'd get a second opinion. No doctor should ever tell you something "would kill you". I was 29 when I was diagnosed and went through chemo, lumpectomy, radiation and now tamoxifen. There are a lot of factors that go into your treatment plan. Get another opinion before you decide! At least you will have the peace of mind that you were as to make an informed decision. Best of luck, the ladies on this site are all here for you!

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Traciann, I find the information from the hematologist rather disturbing....no quite disturbing. There are pieces of this conversation that are missing. What type of breast cancer do you have, what stage, what grade, ER+ PR+ or - - ? Do you have an underlying blood disease that you are...

      more

      Traciann, I find the information from the hematologist rather disturbing....no quite disturbing. There are pieces of this conversation that are missing. What type of breast cancer do you have, what stage, what grade, ER+ PR+ or - - ? Do you have an underlying blood disease that you are being treated by a Hematologist? Many factors go into the decision for treatment. Lots of women here have gone through just about everything there is to throw at breast cancer.... Surgery, chemo, radiation, reconstruction... depending on many factors. I went through chemo, and am on a hormone blocking drug. So, there has got to be a reason for a hematologist to make such a definitive statement. When you are going through the diagnosis phase, I always tell people to take a friend along as another pair of ears, and have them take notes. It helps to be reminded of the conversation when "your wheels start falling off the track."
      Hang in there.... we have all been where you are going on many levels. Take care, Sharon SO sorry you joined the club....

      1 comment
  • Alissa Dawson Profile

    Can anyone comment on how their sentinal node biopsy was?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Clear!!! Yeah

      Comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      The core needle biopsy was fine. The area is numbed and you hardly feel it. I also had them removed ultimately - sentinel node dissection - and that was the most painful part of my surgery.

      8 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    My doctor just found a lump. Now what?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      http://home.roadrunner.com/~amj/this is a link to my story of my personal experience with breast cancer. I take you from my initial diagnosis the biopsy surgery and reflection a year later. It's titled abnormal mammogram now what As your question states "my doctor found a lump what next" I had...

      more

      http://home.roadrunner.com/~amj/this is a link to my story of my personal experience with breast cancer. I take you from my initial diagnosis the biopsy surgery and reflection a year later. It's titled abnormal mammogram now what As your question states "my doctor found a lump what next" I had a similar question after my abnormal mammogram. I didn't know what to expect what next. Since your doctor found a lump he may order a diagnostic mammogram which is a mammogram with magnificated views taken at different angles for better evaluation he may order an ultrasound. An ultrasound can show if the lump is solid or fluid filled. A lump can be many things 80% of lumps are benign it could be a cyst or fibroadenoma (a benign growth). He may order an MRI if that is available in your health facility. After the mammograms and scans he may want to biopsy the lump. That maybe done Different ways. A fine needle biopsy they just us a open bore needle and aspirated the fluid or tissue from the lump. A incisional biopsy is done under local anesthesia and a portion or all of the lump is removed. Or a cone biopsy again under local or general anesthesia they remove a portion of the lump. I know this is probably all very overwhelming. Take one step at a time day by day. Ask questions take someone with you to your doctors visits. Two ears are better then one. We as patients sometimes are just so overwhelmed that we just shut down and can't talk so having someone with you knowing your concerns that can be your voice when you can't get the words out really really helps. Sending you positive vibes. Know that this is a great site with many supportive knowledgable wise women that can answer your questions and share their experience with you. Take care

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Finding a lump can be very scary. But there are so many non cancerous things it could be. Fibroadenomas are benign lumps, & there are fluid filled cysts. All lumps should be checked out ASAP though. You never want to take that chance. The only true way of knowing whether a lump is benign or...

      more

      Finding a lump can be very scary. But there are so many non cancerous things it could be. Fibroadenomas are benign lumps, & there are fluid filled cysts. All lumps should be checked out ASAP though. You never want to take that chance. The only true way of knowing whether a lump is benign or malignant is having a biopsy. You should talk to your dr about this option. Best wishes.

      Comment

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