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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

  • Susana Hernandez Profile

    i have 4 cysts 2 in each breast last year they only found 1 the sizes round from 4 by 5mm, 5 by 2mm on one breast and a 3 by 2mm and a 4 by 2mm on the left breast. i'm very scared are these cysts size big.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      With cysts they can drain them with a needle and syringe or just keep an eye on them. Cysts are more a bother than anything else and don't generally require a biopsy if they have determined that is what they are. In working in Mammography in the past I've never seen a doctor do a biopsy on...

      more

      With cysts they can drain them with a needle and syringe or just keep an eye on them. Cysts are more a bother than anything else and don't generally require a biopsy if they have determined that is what they are. In working in Mammography in the past I've never seen a doctor do a biopsy on cysts but then perhaps that is something new. If they do drain them they can submit the fluid to a lab for testing but that's not really a biopsy as such. I just got thinking when I had my MRI in Jan. to see how big my cancer was in my left breast they also mentioned I had 2 small cysts in my right one.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Please don't be so worried. Cysts are common, nearly every woman has cysts at some time and many times during her lifetime. They are fairly easy to diagnose with an ultrasound. If there is any doubt about them, the doctor should do a needle biopsy. The size of these is actually small. If you...

      more

      Please don't be so worried. Cysts are common, nearly every woman has cysts at some time and many times during her lifetime. They are fairly easy to diagnose with an ultrasound. If there is any doubt about them, the doctor should do a needle biopsy. The size of these is actually small. If you have questions about them please contact your doctors office and get more info. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Does breast augmentation cause breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 2 answers
    • Diana Castells Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I don't think it causes it. In some instances it just makes it harder to detect bc during a mammogram.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Nobody body is sure what cause breast cancer.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is anyone experiencing vaginal dryness during chemotherapy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 5 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Arrrgh.... yes, and continues to be a very sore subject. Sharon

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Everything was dry. My skin was terrible. My privates were dry. I didn't even sweat. But my eyes and nose ran from the 3rd treatment on. I never figured out what to do about it. It did get a lot better when the chemo was over. Intimacy with my husband was challenging. A little creativity and...

      more

      Everything was dry. My skin was terrible. My privates were dry. I didn't even sweat. But my eyes and nose ran from the 3rd treatment on. I never figured out what to do about it. It did get a lot better when the chemo was over. Intimacy with my husband was challenging. A little creativity and over the counter assistance made it OK.

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    Has anyone had experience with or heard of occult breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I just read this... the cases I read about were axillary (arm pit) lymph nodes found to have breast cancer but no primary lesion was found in the breast. It was treated by mastectomy, chemo, and since it was ER+ PR+ Her2- hormone therapy for 5 years. Patient remained cancer free at the 5 year...

      more

      I just read this... the cases I read about were axillary (arm pit) lymph nodes found to have breast cancer but no primary lesion was found in the breast. It was treated by mastectomy, chemo, and since it was ER+ PR+ Her2- hormone therapy for 5 years. Patient remained cancer free at the 5 year point. Take care, Sharon

      Comment

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