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.
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.
Asked by anonymousStage 2A Patient
Asked by anonymousLearning 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 4
Yes we can! I was just diagnosed on my 29th birthday... And I am finding out there are women even younger than that!Comment 3
Asked by anonymousstage_4 Patient
I don't think there is --a normal-- when you hear you have breast cancer. The reality of it is just starting to sink in. I think the toughest time is when you are going through the diagnosis period. You still have to learn type, stage, grade, and what the treatment will be. You are...
I don't think there is --a normal-- when you hear you have breast cancer. The reality of it is just starting to sink in. I think the toughest time is when you are going through the diagnosis period. You still have to learn type, stage, grade, and what the treatment will be. You are beginning the process. If you start learning about breast cancer, this site and breastcancer.org are two good places to get information. We will always be available to help you understand from our many experiences. Breast cancer does not just come in one "flavor". There are several different types and then it is further broken down into the stages, (0-4) and grades 1-3. There are similarities in treatments but they all end up being somewhat different depending on the particular cells of a woman's tumor. You may have a feeling of being on an emotional roller coaster... Hopefully yours will just be a tiny coaster! You WILL get through this. I would definately take a spouse, family member or friend with you for your tests and interviews with your surgeon and oncologist. Try to record your sessions with your team. I was so scared I couldn't remember anything and was so happy my husband was there to listen. Hang in there and keep in touch with us, we are sorry you had to join our "sisterhood" but we will help you through this as much as we can. Take care, Sharon
It is all so emotionally draining. So normal. Hugs!!1 comment 1
“Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.”spread the word