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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

  • Mrs. Collins Profile

    I am married, my hubby is great, but this is new & "scary" for him.. Any suggestions?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      It is so kind of you to be so concerned about your husband, while going through this! Enjoy some "cancer free" time with your husband. Cancer is consuming for everyone in the family, and it is good to keep some routines and normalcy. Express specifically what he can do for you and compliment...

      more

      It is so kind of you to be so concerned about your husband, while going through this! Enjoy some "cancer free" time with your husband. Cancer is consuming for everyone in the family, and it is good to keep some routines and normalcy. Express specifically what he can do for you and compliment and thank him often. My husband weAsk someone other than your husband to help communicate with family and friends. It can be exhausting to answer phone calls and emails and keep rehashing everything with everyone. He may need some alone time occasionally to process things. Keep us posted on your journey. We care about you!

      2 comments
    • Jo Rogers Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Sorry that you are going our "club", but know that it gets better once there is a plan in place and moving forward.
      My hubby was great through the whole process. He went to all the Drs
      appointments and every chemo appointment. He was also there for the surgeries and was wonderful. I think being...

      more

      Sorry that you are going our "club", but know that it gets better once there is a plan in place and moving forward.
      My hubby was great through the whole process. He went to all the Drs
      appointments and every chemo appointment. He was also there for the surgeries and was wonderful. I think being there at the appointments helped him ( and me )
      Understand exactly what was going on and the plan to beat this. He was also able to ask questions we had discussed and I forgot, or didn't think of.
      We also brought a digital recorder to
      all of the appointments so if we needed to we could replay the discussions when we had questions about " what did he say about
      ___".
      Hope this helps and know that we
      will answer any questions that you have and we will be there for you.
      God bless.

      Comment
  • hope crystal Profile

    what does radiation do to breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 2 answers
    • joan jones Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      I had lumpectomy with good margins but radiation was recommended " to be sure" ... there wiil be no recurrence and they got all the cancer cells .

      My radiation team I saw - described themselves as " the sanitation crew" as they " cleaned up" after everyone else !
      Everything we do - everything...

      more

      I had lumpectomy with good margins but radiation was recommended " to be sure" ... there wiil be no recurrence and they got all the cancer cells .

      My radiation team I saw - described themselves as " the sanitation crew" as they " cleaned up" after everyone else !
      Everything we do - everything they recommend is to help stop those cancer cells and prevent reoccurrence . They are trying to give us the best life forward in spite of the pink ribbon diagnosis ....
      Think temporary and > wellness !
      Best wishes ! Keep us posted !

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Same as other post.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Greetings , I have Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer estrogen/progestrone pos.HER-2neg withKi-67. How do you know if the cancer has spread to lymphatic areas and what are the chances of surviving this kind of diagnosis?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Jo is right.... you still don't have all the information you need to see the complete picture. For example...." Ki-67 is a cancer antigen that is found in growing, dividing cells but is absent in the resting phase of cell growth. This characteristic makes Ki-67 a good tumor marker." The lower...

      more

      Jo is right.... you still don't have all the information you need to see the complete picture. For example...." Ki-67 is a cancer antigen that is found in growing, dividing cells but is absent in the resting phase of cell growth. This characteristic makes Ki-67 a good tumor marker." The lower the number in a Ki-67, the better.
      As far as your diagnosis goes, I would call it so far, so good. I had the same findings and am still alive and healthy 5 years later. My initial diagnosis was 2-A and then they found microscopic cancer cells in 1-5 nodes. Staging when to a 2-B. I chose to have a mastectomy and then 4 rounds of chemo. I am just finishing the 5 years of hormone blocking drug "Femara". (I could have had a lumpectomy)
      You are still in the diagnosis phase and need a few more pieces of the puzzle. Your doctor may request an OncoDX test which is a predictor of possible future reoccurrence. It is also a way to decide if you will need chemotherapy. Please keep us posted. Hang in there.... take care, Sharon
      PS.... I detest talking survivor predictions.... tests can only go so far. Each and every woman is an individual. Some pretty tough diagnosis's come out of this by living long lives! As many women say, we don't have an expiration date! Don't put mental limitations on yourself by trying to dig around for cold statistics. We are better and stronger than that!!! You ARE a warrior!

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Your staging is incomplete until sentinel nodes are biopsied. Sounds like you haven't had surgery. Hopefully you asked these questions to your surgeon. Be aggressive with those.

      3 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Should I not have surgery because I am 89 years old? I have a lump in my breast, but have not been diagnosed.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      As the patient.... you have an absolute right to choose whether you want surgery or not. On the other hand, there isn't a reason why you shouldn't have surgery, if that is what you want to do. Plenty of mature folks have surgery all the time for whatever needs to be corrected. Usually women...

      more

      As the patient.... you have an absolute right to choose whether you want surgery or not. On the other hand, there isn't a reason why you shouldn't have surgery, if that is what you want to do. Plenty of mature folks have surgery all the time for whatever needs to be corrected. Usually women have a choice to have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Who knows.... you could live to be 120!!!!! Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Elaine Mills Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      A lot depends on your health. Some doctors will do all they can to keep an elderly person from undergoing anesthesia. My oncologist told me that if we live long enough, ALL of us women get breast cancer. Please see your gynocologist and see what they say!

      Comment

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