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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

  • Carol Watson Profile

    I have Atypical hyperplasia in my right breast. Went for an MRI and they found another spot 1cmm in my left breast. they don't seem to be the same type of spots ... what are the chances that one breast can be Atypicla and the other cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Carol,

      Unfortunately, it happens. It it does turn out to be BC, catching it as early as possible always will make for the very best outcome. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Tina Cvitanovich Profile

    My partner was just diagnosed with stage two cancer of the breast. Is she going to die? I'm so scared and can't imagine losing her.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      11 years after my Stage II diagnosis, I am doing great! So sorry to hear about your partner, but with good medical care and your support, she will get through this! Keep the questions coming and let us know how your partner is doing. Take care.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Tina, that is JUST what I thought when I was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago. The doctor who did the biopsy laughed when I asked her that same question.... "Am I going to die"? Her answer was..."From this little thing......NO." Well, she was right. I went through treatment, and am...

      more

      Tina, that is JUST what I thought when I was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago. The doctor who did the biopsy laughed when I asked her that same question.... "Am I going to die"? Her answer was..."From this little thing......NO." Well, she was right. I went through treatment, and am alive and well. Breast cancer is not the killer it used to be. Not that some women don't die from the disease but the vast majority go through treatment and live normal lives afterward. Treatment is tough but she will make it. Love her and care for you.... she will need you so much. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What blood tests are used for diagonois?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 2 answers
    • Surf  Momma Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      None to my knowledge either. Just a mammogram, ultrasound and or MRI to my knowledge

      Comment
    • Jessica Fisher Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      None that I know of I was diagnosed aug 3 and had all kinds of tests done not a single blood test though

      Comment
  • Sabrina Higgins Profile

    Just was diagnosed with stage 2, treatment is removal and chemo for 4 months . Just would like to know what to expected after surgery and chemo

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Welcome! A cancer diagnosis is scary and overwhelming. Thanks for reaching out. Are you having a lumpectomy or mastectomy? Reconstruction? What type of chemo? This info will help us share some tips and experiences. Allow people to do things for you. It makes them feel good to be able to...

      more

      Welcome! A cancer diagnosis is scary and overwhelming. Thanks for reaching out. Are you having a lumpectomy or mastectomy? Reconstruction? What type of chemo? This info will help us share some tips and experiences. Allow people to do things for you. It makes them feel good to be able to help and you will feel loved! It helped me to take the anti nausea meds as directed. Use plastic utensils to help with the metal taste. Keep hydrated and rest when you need it. Eat small meals and keep bland snacks on hand. I liked graham crackers. Hope you have a smooth surgery and recovery. Keep the questions coming. We are here for you!

      Comment
    • Roz Potenza Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Hi Sabrina,

      Each stage of this journey you are on has it's own set of needs. You'll start with what you will need with the surgery, depending on what kind you are having. You will then have brandy new needs for chemo and once again with radiation. We will help you each step of the way if you...

      more

      Hi Sabrina,

      Each stage of this journey you are on has it's own set of needs. You'll start with what you will need with the surgery, depending on what kind you are having. You will then have brandy new needs for chemo and once again with radiation. We will help you each step of the way if you have any questions. Right now just focus on what's next for you. You have a lot of information coming at you and it's hard to process it all. Take someone with you, if you can, on doctor appointments so there is another set of ears to help listen. Being prepared for each step will help you greatly. I wish you the best today, tomorrow and always. Roz

      Comment

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Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.

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