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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

  • Veronica Rodriguez Profile

    What is the prognosis for stage 3 breast cancer plus metastasis?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      What doctor's deal with are statistics. No one can say what the length of life for any of us no matter what the stage of disease we have. I think when you are faced with a cold hard number, you put a limit on your body's ability to kick cancer's butt. It is a tough fight but absolutely doable....

      more

      What doctor's deal with are statistics. No one can say what the length of life for any of us no matter what the stage of disease we have. I think when you are faced with a cold hard number, you put a limit on your body's ability to kick cancer's butt. It is a tough fight but absolutely doable. SO many women here have numbers like that and only the treatment schedules are shuffled a little bit. You may have some chemotherapy first to shrink tumors.... and I have heard that work over and over. You will then have surgery on what is left.once the chemotherapy have taken the wind out of the sails of your cancer.(YAHOO). I refuse to put any energy into negative thinking about my body's ability and the treatment power to rid me of this disease. I wish the same for you. Don't go traveling the internet reading things and scaring yourself. I found out when I first was diagnosed, I would read something, become hysterical, fall to pieces... then find out I was reading information that was totally outdated or not even about the type of cancer I had. So.... don't do there. You put your focus into your faith, and your fight. You have a lot of company here. We are all fighters. If you start to tip over a little bit, we are here to prop you up. We aren't doctor's but we can share out experiences with you. Take care, and blessings to you. Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You can live a very long time with treatment. Clinical trials as well as nutrition and chemo can give you years to live and feeling well. I am stage 4 metastatic and am working full time

      1 comment
  • Cherita Lynn  Profile

    I have a dark discharge in my left breast should I be concerned?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Cherita, anytime you have something going on that is not normal it is always best to check with your doctor. Please make an appointment. We can't tell what is going on, it takes your doctor and possibly some testing to correctly diagnose this. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Any changes with your breast you should make a Drs appointment

      Comment
  • Tee Mend Profile

    I got diagnosed with stage 1 IDC last week following my biopsy. Does the fact that my ultrasound stated there was no vascularity present indicate anything?

    Asked by anonymous

    stage_1 Patient
    over 1 year 2 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      That sounds like a question for your doctor(s) and we aren't doctors here.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Mums has been diagnosed with grade 3 nst. With 6 months of chemo then removal/mammogram after. Parents say everything will be ok but are they protecting me. Is it usual to do chemo first and isn't grade 3 more advance?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      It depends on each individual , but chemo can be first.

      Comment
    • Rita Jo Hayes Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      My strong chemo was first. Then double mass, then follow up with herceptin and hormone therapy. Each person's situation is an individual journey. A good strong support system and positive attitude is very helpful. Good luck to you n your mums.

      Comment

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