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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

  • Maria Crespo Profile

    Does it hurt when they put in the port

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      My port was placed at the same time as my mastectomy. The area was sore for a while. I know some women get it placed and have chemo the same day. I've had it for 2 years now, and don't even know it's there. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Mine was some under general anesthetic so I was sleeping. Didn't feel a thing.

      1 comment
  • lori simas Profile

    I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and I am freaking out... Is it bad to research on-line?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! I heard that Beyond the Shock was created specifically to help you to get beyond the shock of diagnosis. The informational videos were created with a team of medical experts, so the information you get from these is legitimate. I would recommend...

      more

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! I heard that Beyond the Shock was created specifically to help you to get beyond the shock of diagnosis. The informational videos were created with a team of medical experts, so the information you get from these is legitimate. I would recommend watching these (http://beyondtheshock.com/learn). It is okay to be wary of some information that you get online, but there are some good sites such as nbcf.org and cancer.org.

      Hope this helps!

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Lori, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have breast cancer as well. I was diagnosed on May 19th of this year. It's a shock when you first find out and scary. There are so many advances in medicine and SO many resources out there for us! As far as going to the web...there are some...

      more

      Hi Lori, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have breast cancer as well. I was diagnosed on May 19th of this year. It's a shock when you first find out and scary. There are so many advances in medicine and SO many resources out there for us! As far as going to the web...there are some great sites that have a wealth of information and some to steer clear of. A few of the good legitimate sites I recommend are breastcancer.org (my fav which has great medical info as well as discussion boards to be able to get support and useful info from other women that have been in our shoes) , komen.org, and cancer.org. Those are my three fav. Your local American cancer society is a great source as well. They can send you packets of info and so much more including getting involved with a support group so you can be able to share how you're feeling with other women. I hope this has helped you.
      I wish you all the best in your journey,

      Diana

      Comment
  • hithere hithere Profile

    How old do you have to be to see an oncologist?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      How old are you?

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      It isn't about age it is about need. I needed mine onc at 58.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    if breast cancer doesn,t cause pain then why did mine and why does it continue to cause pain?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • celien thorne Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Mine hurt felt like a sharp stabbing pain and it itched ... I ignored it :-(....so we all have diff symptoms Medical Comunity dosnt know everything so we have to b our own advocate and trust our gut feeling . Now after i had a right side mastectomy, I have No pain..

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I think the myth that "breast cancer doesn't hurt" can lull someone into a false sense of security. I was misdiagnosed for 7 months. I had pain, itching, and tingling, with my breast cancer. We are all such individuals, our symptoms can run the gamut. When in doubt.... check it out!
      Take...

      more

      I think the myth that "breast cancer doesn't hurt" can lull someone into a false sense of security. I was misdiagnosed for 7 months. I had pain, itching, and tingling, with my breast cancer. We are all such individuals, our symptoms can run the gamut. When in doubt.... check it out!
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment

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