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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

  • VIVIANE GRANT Profile

    I was diagnosed with triple negative invasive carcinoma,had lumpectomy, 6 chemo treatments and 33 radiation treatments. How much higher is the risk for me to get this cancer to come back

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Vivian's, there are boatloads of statistics out there but no one can really predict the future. According to statistics, I should never have got breast cancer....here I am six years down the road from treatment. My oncologist told me to live my life to the fullest and leave the worrying about...

      more

      Vivian's, there are boatloads of statistics out there but no one can really predict the future. According to statistics, I should never have got breast cancer....here I am six years down the road from treatment. My oncologist told me to live my life to the fullest and leave the worrying about my health to him. I follow up on my check ups, now, every six months. It is difficult at this point for you to not be overly focused on this lousy disease. The further away from treatment, you are able to not worry about it as much. Worrying about it coming back won't make it stay away....it will just cause stress in your life. Even if you do have a reoccurrence, that doesn't mean that's the end of the road. We have many women who have reoccurrence's and are treated. Love the life you have, make every day count, try not to put a dark cloud on those days. Blessings to you. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • Cindy Jones Profile

    I had stage 2 breast cancer two years ago and had a lumpectomy and 27 radiation treatments followed by five years of arimidex. Just received news of another suspicious lump. I'm so scared to go through this again. Please pray with me 😢

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hey Cindy I went thru the same experience. Stage 0 cancer, lumpectomy, 35 radiation treatments and Tamoxifen for 5 years. 2 yrs later another suspicious area biopsy done which tested positive. I ended up having a double mastectomy w/immediate reconstruction. Doing it all over I would have had the...

      more

      Hey Cindy I went thru the same experience. Stage 0 cancer, lumpectomy, 35 radiation treatments and Tamoxifen for 5 years. 2 yrs later another suspicious area biopsy done which tested positive. I ended up having a double mastectomy w/immediate reconstruction. Doing it all over I would have had the mastectomy from the beginning. I was just in shock like we all are when diagnosed & couldn't get passed loosing my breast. Stay positive suspicious doesn't mean cancer.

      Comment
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Such scary news. I'm sorry. Try to stay positive. Prayers to you.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is there a link between having a breast infection during nursing and years later developing DCIS or IDC? I am curious because this has happened to me and wonder if anyone else has made the connection.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2009
    over 8 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Funny you ask this question. The same thing happened to me. Left breast infection while breast feeding and DCIS in left breast. Interesting....

      Comment
    • Robin Bailey Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Me too! I got many infections while nursing my son to 11 mos. He's 19 now and I've got Dcis!

      Comment
  • Pat Lyons Profile

    14 yrs after partial masectomy and lymph removal just found a lump in upper armpit not fluid. What can cause this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 3 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Any changes in one's body need to be seen by a doctor. Testing will probably need to be done to see what it may or may not be.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Pat,
      That's why doctor's get paid the big bucks.... we can't guess. Have you had an infection, a cold, a tooth abcess, etc. lately? Something like that could cause some swelling in a lymph node. How long has it been there? DId is show up quickly? Is it painful? Those are probably some of...

      more

      Pat,
      That's why doctor's get paid the big bucks.... we can't guess. Have you had an infection, a cold, a tooth abcess, etc. lately? Something like that could cause some swelling in a lymph node. How long has it been there? DId is show up quickly? Is it painful? Those are probably some of the questions your doctor is going to ask. As Betti says, some testing is probably going to take place, and your doctor might even choose to remove the entire thing. Primary importance is to get in and have it looked at by your oncologist. Take care, Sharon

      Comment

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