loading... close

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'm 20 years old. I recently went to my doctor for a breast exam, and( after the exam) she informed me that I need to go get an ultrasound. What do I need to know? What should I expect?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      It could just be a cyst. Don't worry yourself until you know. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      If you have an older sister or you feel comfortable bringing your own mom or an aunt, do that. I remember being 20 and I wouldn't have had a clue as to what to ask, especially concerning WHY they are doing an u/s. You are young to be a breast cancer patient, but have someone with you if...

      more

      If you have an older sister or you feel comfortable bringing your own mom or an aunt, do that. I remember being 20 and I wouldn't have had a clue as to what to ask, especially concerning WHY they are doing an u/s. You are young to be a breast cancer patient, but have someone with you if possible to help you navigate. Good luck!

      Comment
  • Mrs. Collins Profile

    I was diagnosed last week with breast cancer. didn't have pain until after biopsy & MRI... any suggestions? Besides this... I'm terribly frightened of"The Unknown". Which makes it Hard to be Positive!! Any suggestions PLEASE?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      The Breast Cancer journey is a roller coaster ride, but you, like the courageous women on this site, will get through it! Write down questions before doctor appointments, take notes and bring someone with you to help retain the info. Keep copies of your test results. Use only reputable...

      more

      The Breast Cancer journey is a roller coaster ride, but you, like the courageous women on this site, will get through it! Write down questions before doctor appointments, take notes and bring someone with you to help retain the info. Keep copies of your test results. Use only reputable internet sites like the American Cancer Society and breastcancer.org. and limit your search time. Reach out to community bc resources in your area. Contact the American Cancer Society about programs. Take time to do things that bring you joy and distract you so cancer does not consume you! Surround yourself with positive people. Honor your body and rest when you need to. Keep us posted on your treatment plan and keep the questions coming. We are here for you!!!

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Mrs Collins, when you hear the words its devastating and your life has forever changed. You will have your ups and downs but just remember you have so many here to support you. Love yourselve and hold on tightly. From this moment on, You are a warrior. We love you and hold your faith close.

      Comment
  • Alice Eisele Profile

    What is the prognosis for metastatic Stage 4 Breast Cancer that has spread to the lung?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2009
    over 6 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Nobody can say for sure. There are women who have all sorts of diagnosis's and have all sorts of different outcomes. I think one just gets the best advice, goes into treatment and lives each day they best they can. I always say you can get hit by a bus.... tomorrow!
      I think doctor's tend to be...

      more

      Nobody can say for sure. There are women who have all sorts of diagnosis's and have all sorts of different outcomes. I think one just gets the best advice, goes into treatment and lives each day they best they can. I always say you can get hit by a bus.... tomorrow!
      I think doctor's tend to be more hopeful, they have so many different kinds of treatment and there are also drug studies you can enroll in. Lots of times, these treatments will make these spots on lungs shrink if not disappear. I also think along with good treatment, a fighting spirit and positive attitude will bring you a long, long way. I would hope your doctor does not fill your head with anything other than a positive hopeful attitude. You GO GIRL! Hang in there!!! Sharon

      2 comments
  • Nikol Vega Profile

    How do you tell your doctor you're getting a second opinion without hurting their feelings?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Don't hesitate getting a second opinion. Doctors expect patients to seek a second opinion. Some doctors will offer to set up your second opinion for you. I just got done with treatment and sought a second opinion but ended up going back to my oncologist. Do not worry about hurting the doctor,...

      more

      Don't hesitate getting a second opinion. Doctors expect patients to seek a second opinion. Some doctors will offer to set up your second opinion for you. I just got done with treatment and sought a second opinion but ended up going back to my oncologist. Do not worry about hurting the doctor, they understand. You will have total peace of mind when you have sought out all possibilities for treatment.

      Comment
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Don't worry about hurting your doctors feelings. My surgeon suggested I go get a second opinion at a bigger hospital and helped me set up the appointment. For me, the second opinion gave me peace of mind that I was doing the right course of treatment. They said exactly the same thing and...

      more

      Don't worry about hurting your doctors feelings. My surgeon suggested I go get a second opinion at a bigger hospital and helped me set up the appointment. For me, the second opinion gave me peace of mind that I was doing the right course of treatment. They said exactly the same thing and reassured me that although they would love to have me with them, the hospital closer to home was a great choice as well. It's never a bad idea to get a second opinion!

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 1

An Early Detection Plan (EDP) significantly increases the chances of surviving breast cancer.

spread the word