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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

  • bizuayehu sitotaw Profile

    signs of stage four breast cancer

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      This is almost impossible to say because it depends on the type of breast cancer. Many of the symptoms are invisible because they take place in the lymph system. If the main cancer is in the form of a tumor, it will get larger, but not all breast cancers form lumps. If you are worried, get...

      more

      This is almost impossible to say because it depends on the type of breast cancer. Many of the symptoms are invisible because they take place in the lymph system. If the main cancer is in the form of a tumor, it will get larger, but not all breast cancers form lumps. If you are worried, get your self to a doctor immediately. Breast cancer is a tough disease but the longer you wait, the more intense the treament and the more difficult it will be to win the fight. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Stage 4 Breast Cancer usually spreads to the liver, bones, brain or lungs. It is wise to report any unusual symptoms such as prolonged unexplained pain, persistent cough, shortness of breath, drop in appetite, unintentional weight loss, weakness, prolonged fatigue, or sudden/significant changes...

      more

      Stage 4 Breast Cancer usually spreads to the liver, bones, brain or lungs. It is wise to report any unusual symptoms such as prolonged unexplained pain, persistent cough, shortness of breath, drop in appetite, unintentional weight loss, weakness, prolonged fatigue, or sudden/significant changes in vision to your doctor. Keep the questions coming. We are here for you!!!

      Comment
  • Cheryl Wornham Profile

    Hi all just wanted to share I had my first mamo since diagnosis 1 ago they said everything was good yippie!!!!!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Nancy Ries Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Cheryl, congratulations. I also has my first post diagnosis/treatment mammogram this morning. Normal mammogram, cancer free. They were tears of relief and joy.

      1 comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Congrats!!! It's a huge milestone

      Comment
  • Delyth Richards Profile

    I had a surgical biopsy under general anaesthetic on Dec 18th, and my results still haven't come back, due to a backlog. Is this routine procedure? Is this a good or a bad thing? Really anxious and very stressed with it all!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      That doesn't sound like routine procedure to me, backlog or no backlog. I had my biopsy on a Monday and my PCP had the report late on Tuesday afternoon. I can see why you're anxious and stressed. I'd be calling my doctor every day if they don't call you and tell them what you've said here. To...

      more

      That doesn't sound like routine procedure to me, backlog or no backlog. I had my biopsy on a Monday and my PCP had the report late on Tuesday afternoon. I can see why you're anxious and stressed. I'd be calling my doctor every day if they don't call you and tell them what you've said here. To me it wouldn't be acceptable; regardless of the result(s) as stress can really get to you. Take care of yourself, Betti

      2 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Mine took two weeks to come back.

      3 comments
  • April Hare Profile

    On the top of my left breast there is an indention. Could that be a sign of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi April, yes an indentation can be one of the signs of breast cancer. But it could also be something less significant. :). I would get it checked out to be on the safe side. Good luck!

      Comment

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