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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

  • Allyonna Helstrom Profile

    What is breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Lysa Allison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      There is another tab called "Learn" at this website and it has some great information. I hope that helps.

      Comment
  • Briawnna Wagoner Profile

    I'm the same 14 year old who asked the other ? I feel what feels like "cords" and a bump that moves around under my nipple....?????

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      It's good you are aware and are doing the self exam. I would think what you are feeling is very normal breast tissue, glands & milk ducts. Your breasts can change as you get older and change with your periods as well. It's best to 'get to know' your breasts & figure out what is normal so you'll...

      more

      It's good you are aware and are doing the self exam. I would think what you are feeling is very normal breast tissue, glands & milk ducts. Your breasts can change as you get older and change with your periods as well. It's best to 'get to know' your breasts & figure out what is normal so you'll notice any change. With your period, they can swell & be sore. It's best to do an exam each month after your period has stopped. If you still have concerns talk with an adult & get checked out. Prayers to you.

      1 comment
    • Penny Walton Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2014

      Brianna, I started self exams at 16 & wondered how anyone could tell if there was a lump as I felt all kinds of stuff. But as Andre said, continue to do it and in a few months you will understand what's normal for you. If your school has a nurse you can go talk to her or your family doctor. A...

      more

      Brianna, I started self exams at 16 & wondered how anyone could tell if there was a lump as I felt all kinds of stuff. But as Andre said, continue to do it and in a few months you will understand what's normal for you. If your school has a nurse you can go talk to her or your family doctor. A doctor can do an exam and help you understand what's normal and assure you things are ok. You can check with the American Cancer Society where you van get information on self exams & even details on health fairs in your area where you can talk one on one with a professional. Just remember, you are not destined to get cancer. Practice good eating habits, exercise and take good care of yourself, these things do make a difference. You're on the right track, do the self exams & reach out again if you need to talk. It's a scary topic, but education and knowing your body will help you now and in the future. Prayers & Blessings, Penny

      Comment
  • Julie Ren Profile

    Can we get breast cancer at a young age?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Amanda Metivier Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      To all you other ladies just diagnosed, please reach out to me if you have any questions. I have completed chemo, and am still doing radiation and heceptin.

      Comment
    • Casey Chernes Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes we can! I was just diagnosed on my 29th birthday... And I am finding out there are women even younger than that!

      Comment
  • Crystie Goldsmith Profile

    any one out there that knows any thing about pea shaped smooth lumps in the breast

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Please get it checked out, don't procrastinate .

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Chrystie,

      We can't tell you what it is but if this is abnormal for you get it checked. Most of these things are not cancer but it is the best to get them looked at asap. You may have to have an ultrasound or it might go all the way to a biopsy. Try not to go "to the dark side" with this. It...

      more

      Chrystie,

      We can't tell you what it is but if this is abnormal for you get it checked. Most of these things are not cancer but it is the best to get them looked at asap. You may have to have an ultrasound or it might go all the way to a biopsy. Try not to go "to the dark side" with this. It doesn't help you or do anything for the outcome. For some reason if it does turn out to be something, the sooner you get it diagnosed the better. As it turns out, there are LOTS of treatments for breast cancer and it is not a death sentence! Take care, Sharon

      2 comments

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