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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

  • Thumb avatar default

    I had a second surgery as they didn't get clear margins the first time. So far I am stage 2a grade 3 2 lymph nodes involved. Is that bad? Still draining so can't get chemo yet.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Breast cancer IS just plain bad! I was 2A and after my surgery was downgraded to a 2B because I had one lymph node positive. It is better if you don't have any lymph node involvement but you deal with what you have. Not knowing any more about your breast cancer except stage and grade,(type) 2A...

      more

      Breast cancer IS just plain bad! I was 2A and after my surgery was downgraded to a 2B because I had one lymph node positive. It is better if you don't have any lymph node involvement but you deal with what you have. Not knowing any more about your breast cancer except stage and grade,(type) 2A has you far from the end of your rope. Your surgeon and/or oncologist will go over all of your tests before you go on to the next part of your treatment. You are at a very treatable stage so you will be ok. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had lumpectomy then a second to clean up margins by the everything was done I was stage III ER no nodes. Mentally and emotionaly I was a wreck. I'm not a stupid person but I just get my head wrapped around everything. Everyday more life changing decisions to make. I had to make decisions about...

      more

      I had lumpectomy then a second to clean up margins by the everything was done I was stage III ER no nodes. Mentally and emotionaly I was a wreck. I'm not a stupid person but I just get my head wrapped around everything. Everyday more life changing decisions to make. I had to make decisions about issues I didn't think I had full understanding. Looking back I think it was denial. Breast cancer is a very bumpy road and so indivdual I finely figured out to trust my doctors/nurses/trusted and my good judgement.

      Comment
  • Mary Ann Wethington Cunningham Profile

    what is a Osv Mm 02s mammogram

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I went to my usual answer genius (google) and couldn't find a thing. Is this for you? If so, ask the center, the nurse, the doctor.

      3 comments
    • jane sirett Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I did the same and it came up with images so I think it might be to do with the imaging. If you put Osv 02s mammogram images in google it shows up

      3 comments
  • Alysa Fields Profile

    Is 1.6 centimeters considered large for a breast lump?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      There is a lot more than just size that is important. The type of breast cancer, how aggressive the cancer is (grade) whether it is reactive to hormones and how many positive lymph nodes are involved. My friend had a huge tumor but it was non-aggressive. So size isn't everything for sure in...

      more

      There is a lot more than just size that is important. The type of breast cancer, how aggressive the cancer is (grade) whether it is reactive to hormones and how many positive lymph nodes are involved. My friend had a huge tumor but it was non-aggressive. So size isn't everything for sure in breast cancer. Mine was 2.2 cm,
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      That's the reason I ended up doing an MRI as there was a discrepency between the screening mammo, the additional views, and the U/S and they wanted to determine the size before doing anything else.

      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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