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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

    Estrogen positive. Anyone else who was on HRT before diagnosis ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I took hormone pills for 22 years! I was dx last year with DCIS... Estrogen positive. I am 57 years old and had a complete hysterectomy on 1980. Had partial mammogram and 16 rads. Doing good now except for a seroma in my breast along with lots of scar tissue.

      1 comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Yes, diagnosed 1/25/2011 stage 3 ILC clean nodes

      Comment
  • Latonya Bailey Profile

    if yoy are diagnosed with breast cancer is it possible to not find the cells

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Latonya,
      I don't quite understand the question. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, it is because the cells were found and identified. If you are talking about breast cancer that has metastasized to other parts of the body, there are baseline tests that would either identify those...

      more

      Latonya,
      I don't quite understand the question. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, it is because the cells were found and identified. If you are talking about breast cancer that has metastasized to other parts of the body, there are baseline tests that would either identify those area's or be suspicious. I hope this helps, take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      They need to find cells with cancer in them to diagnose...

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Hi my name is Kim Im a mother of two boys 7 &14. I was just diagnosed with invasive ductal caricnoma breast cancer. According to the path they think its at stage 2 and has hit a lymp node. I'm so scared for myself and my family.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • kim sosa Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thank you!My plan is to fight this cancer, survive and be the best mother I can be to my boys and care for them myself. I just turned 40 and I believe I caught this cancer early and it is the common cancer. I continue to have faith that god will take care of me. I told my older son and he went...

      more

      Thank you!My plan is to fight this cancer, survive and be the best mother I can be to my boys and care for them myself. I just turned 40 and I believe I caught this cancer early and it is the common cancer. I continue to have faith that god will take care of me. I told my older son and he went and research on the computer and came back and said mom your not going to die this is a common breast cancer and there is a cure! I love him so much! God bless and I will beat this!

      Comment
    • Monica Swain Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Kim I have my last treatment next week. Same diagnosis. I have 3 children. I count my blessings and remained positive throughout the process. The strength you find from no where is surprising. I had my crying in bed moments. However there were times I had to
      Remind myself and family that I had...

      more

      Kim I have my last treatment next week. Same diagnosis. I have 3 children. I count my blessings and remained positive throughout the process. The strength you find from no where is surprising. I had my crying in bed moments. However there were times I had to
      Remind myself and family that I had cancer. Mind over matter!!! Prayer and continued strength! You Will be amazed how you will become an inspiration to others!

      Comment
  • Elizabeth Dycus Profile

    How can you know for sure that you have a lump in your breast?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 1 answer
    • Catherine Nodurft Profile
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      To know for sure, visit your doctor. Your doctor can conduct a clinical breast exam and feel for any lumps that may be of concern. Make sure you do a breast self-exam on a regular basis so that you are familiar with your breasts and know when there is something unusual. Here's how to do a...

      more

      To know for sure, visit your doctor. Your doctor can conduct a clinical breast exam and feel for any lumps that may be of concern. Make sure you do a breast self-exam on a regular basis so that you are familiar with your breasts and know when there is something unusual. Here's how to do a breast self-exam: http://breastcan.cr/SelfExam

      Comment

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