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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

  • Maura Foley Profile

    I want to thank all of you for the strength and support I have gathered from all of you as I help my sister through the toughest battle of/for her life!

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Thoughts and prayers for you and your sister there is light at the end of that tunnel.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Maura,
      You are a wonderful REAL sister to help your's through a very tough time. We know what she is going through but she will get through it, especially with your help. Some days are just more difficult than others but she is going to make it. We are sending our love, prayers and positive...

      more

      Maura,
      You are a wonderful REAL sister to help your's through a very tough time. We know what she is going through but she will get through it, especially with your help. Some days are just more difficult than others but she is going to make it. We are sending our love, prayers and positive thoughts both you her and you too. God's blessings, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Ten years back when I am at college for one to two months from my nipple there is a red color fluid .i didn't consult any doc and never told to anyone but somehow it stopped.but now I found two cysts in my two breast.Am I got cancer.

    Asked by anonymous

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

      Any changes to one's body should be checked by a doctor. How do you know your lumps are cysts, have you had some type of testing? Cysts are fluid filled sacs and are not cancer.

      Comment
    • Sharon Doria Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      Hi,

      You should be checked by your doctor. They may only be benign cysts, Only a doctor can give you the answers. Best of luck, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is slight pain in the underarm and around a sign of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      It could be a sign of breast cancer....but it could also be something insignificant as well. Don't believe the myth....breast cancer doesn't hurt. Sometimes it can...and does. I can't stress enough how important it is to notice any changes in your breast...then get it checked out ASAP! Never...

      more

      It could be a sign of breast cancer....but it could also be something insignificant as well. Don't believe the myth....breast cancer doesn't hurt. Sometimes it can...and does. I can't stress enough how important it is to notice any changes in your breast...then get it checked out ASAP! Never ignore any changes. Early detection is so important! I pray all will be well. :)

      Comment
    • Lysa Allison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I ditto Diana.

      Comment
  • Leslie Johnson  Profile

    my breast density is heterogeneously dense what does this mean?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 2 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I never knew that I had dense breasts until I got bc. It makes it not only more difficult to read the mammo, we are also at higher risk for bc.

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Breast tissue is normally dense in younger patients and is replaced by fat later on. Some women just have dense tissue (mine always has been and still is at age 63) making it most difficult to read mammograms. It just depends, too, on how dense they are. There can also be a combination of...

      more

      Breast tissue is normally dense in younger patients and is replaced by fat later on. Some women just have dense tissue (mine always has been and still is at age 63) making it most difficult to read mammograms. It just depends, too, on how dense they are. There can also be a combination of dense and fatty. Fatty breasts are the easiest to read, generally. I used to do mammos. so that is how we'd explain it to patients. Did your report say how dense they are as I guess they have to include that on the report now along with the Birads code.

      1 comment

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An Early Detection Plan (EDP) significantly increases the chances of surviving breast cancer.

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