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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

  • Katy Shaxter Profile

    I have a 7 year old, 9 year old and 11 year old. How do I tell them that mommy has breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Katy I think honesty is the best. Explain to them what is & will happen to you. Answer their questions. They may not even have any. Stay strong & let them help you in any way they can. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Susan Hohstadt Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Also be sure to share with their teachers what is going on. This will help them in understanding the kids might act differently. Your school counselor should also be able to help.

      Comment
  • Conny Kutzner Profile

    I have been diagnosed with stage 2 dcis, grade 2, 22 lymphs neg and margins are also clear.was offered adjuvent therapy with or without chemo. And was told about tamoxifen and another pill over 5 yrs. dont know about doing chemo? any advice??

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Cathleen King Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Did you get an oncotype dx test done? That was helpful for me and my oncologist to determine my plan

      5 comments
    • Gillian Ashworth Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It's a really hard decision. I took 3-4 weeks to make mine. I was stage one, grade 2-3 IDC w clear nodes. I chose chemo. I dragged my feet towards it bc I hated the idea of it and all the changes it brings. I'm now finished chemo (1.5 weeks out) and can honestly say it wasn't as bad as I...

      more

      It's a really hard decision. I took 3-4 weeks to make mine. I was stage one, grade 2-3 IDC w clear nodes. I chose chemo. I dragged my feet towards it bc I hated the idea of it and all the changes it brings. I'm now finished chemo (1.5 weeks out) and can honestly say it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. I really went with my intuition. I tried to continuously convince myself that I'd be fine without it but I couldn't escape it. I didn't want to look back w regrets or look forward w fear. It's what I had to do. Everyone is different. There are a lot of people who didn't go with chemo & are fine! My only advice is that you listen to your intuition and don't let fear decide for you, whichever way you go. Chemo isn't easy...being bald is a trying adjustment but it's all very doable. You find the strength and you power through. Good luck to you!

      3 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Does double mastectomy mean removing both breasts? My grandmother just got diagnose with breast cancer again. She's now had it in both breasts so it makes sense, but I'm only fourteen so I'm lost.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Rita Jo Hayes Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      Yes double mastectomy does mean removal of both breasts. I had a double mastectomy march 14 th 2010. I was 49. It is very confusing and scary. I tried to keep in mind my breasts were not something I needed to keep alive, but if they were not removed that would be a likely possibility. So the...

      more

      Yes double mastectomy does mean removal of both breasts. I had a double mastectomy march 14 th 2010. I was 49. It is very confusing and scary. I tried to keep in mind my breasts were not something I needed to keep alive, but if they were not removed that would be a likely possibility. So the decesion was not difficult for me. Each person's situation is different, I had chemo before mastectomy, the mastectomy and then more chemo. I was in the hospital for the mastectomy for 7 days. I went home with 4 drains in. I got the drains taken out 2weeks after surg. I returned to work on the 4th or 5th week after surg. I healed well. I had to do some self physical therapy to get my right arm back to normal from where they took out some lymph nodes. I now have complete use of both arms with no swelling. You and/or your grandmother need to consult with her Ono team. Your local cancer center treatment center is a good resource to get in formation. The Internet is ok, but some times it can scare a person. As mentioned above it will be a great help and comfort for her if you are there to support her. Good luck and wish you both well and speedy recovery.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      Double mastectomy is the removal of both breasts. I hope you will talk to your grandmother and give her lots of encouragement. Prayers for her recovery!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Thanks...I believe the lack of response answered my question.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Dear A: What was your question? Are you sure it posted successfully the first time?
      I just looked through the board and could not find a question that had not at least gotten a comment or an answer. Please post again!
      thank you,

      5 comments
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I looked too. Didn't see any unanswered questions. Tell us what your question was.....someone here can help you with an answer. You are not alone, we are here for one another. Prayers to you.

      Comment

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