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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 was just diagnosed with early cancer in both breasts. What treatments might be offered?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 1 answer
    • Joan Rosov Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      They will probably start with a biopsy

      2 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have been informed of my diagnosis (IDC) this week and I think I am starting to freak out! I feel some nausea and my breast is sore at times. Is all of this normal??? I go from a moment of being smiling to feeling blue.

    Asked by anonymous

    almost 4 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Have you received any more about the diagnosis other than the type? You are pretty much in a spot of knowing you have breast cancer and not knowing anything about your treatment or where you go from here. This is a scary place to be because your mind imagines the worst. You need to get a...

      more

      Have you received any more about the diagnosis other than the type? You are pretty much in a spot of knowing you have breast cancer and not knowing anything about your treatment or where you go from here. This is a scary place to be because your mind imagines the worst. You need to get a consultation and take a friend, or family member with you to take note and "help you listen" to what is being said. You have been diagnosed with the most common form of breast cancer so it is not something rare. There are tried and true treatments for this type of cancer. It is the type I had eight years ago. Don't go wandering around the internet scaring yourself. In the next few days you will get more information. Please keep in touch with us as you go through your treatment...we've been there! Don't be afraid to ask your doctor anything you don't understand, especially about your diagnosis. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Norma  Cook Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2014

      The nausea and soreness were not something I experienced following my diagnosis, but the up-and-down emotions are very common. Your life has taken a sudden detour and the road ahead has many twists and turns. The support of family and friends is so important as you face this journey. Your next...

      more

      The nausea and soreness were not something I experienced following my diagnosis, but the up-and-down emotions are very common. Your life has taken a sudden detour and the road ahead has many twists and turns. The support of family and friends is so important as you face this journey. Your next step will probably be a referral from your family doctor to see a surgeon and/or an oncologist for a consultation. My surgeon gave me an information packet and told me to read only what applied to me. My treatment plan for IDC during this past year has involved lumpectomy, radiation and tamoxifen, which seems to be typical. However, each case is unique and your medical team will recommend what is best for you.

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Why is my reconstructed breast area STILL VERY SORE after surgery three years ago?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2008
    almost 6 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Karen,
      The person to ask is the surgeon or get a second opinion from a new surgeon. 3 years is a L-O-N-G time. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Have you done PT?

      3 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    whats the difference in the risk of developing cancer between DCIS " ductal " and LCIS " lobular "?

    Asked by anonymous

    almost 4 years 2 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      DCIS is considered and treated as early noninvasive breast cancer which may become invasive. Mastectomy or lumpectomy & radiation are needed, and may be followed with anti hormone therapy. LCIS is not considered cancer, but is a factor that increases risk for developing it. Anti hormone therapy...

      more

      DCIS is considered and treated as early noninvasive breast cancer which may become invasive. Mastectomy or lumpectomy & radiation are needed, and may be followed with anti hormone therapy. LCIS is not considered cancer, but is a factor that increases risk for developing it. Anti hormone therapy and careful screening might be recommended. But, if there is a strong family history of cancer, or BRAC 1 or 2, preventative mastectomies of both breasts might be considered because of increased risk. Every case is individual, and includes factors such as family history. In general, DCIS is treated as early stage breast cancer , and LCIS is usually considered a factor which may increase the risk of developing bc.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I have Invasive Lobular carcinoma breast cancer. Mine was stage 3 before we found it. The was no lump just a thickening of the breast tissue. I have no history of cancer in the family.

      3 comments

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