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

  • Carla Victor-rawson Profile

    Is feeling tingling and strangely sporadicly numb, tinged with some pain normal after lumpectomy with SNB? I'm 4 days out of surgery and fingers are tingling as I'm writing this....anything I can do for it? Also, is swelling on the effected side normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Diane Washington Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Yes I still have those symptoms I been three months out of surgery. It can catch you off guard . But I sure in time everything will catch up with the other body parts.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Morning Carla, Had both, it was annoying but it's due to severed nerves. Still have both but to a lesser degree after 4 months. You will have sharp , piercing pain that will catch you off gaurd but it will eventually subside-also due to cut and damaged nerves. I call them GOTCHA pain. Those were...

      more

      Morning Carla, Had both, it was annoying but it's due to severed nerves. Still have both but to a lesser degree after 4 months. You will have sharp , piercing pain that will catch you off gaurd but it will eventually subside-also due to cut and damaged nerves. I call them GOTCHA pain. Those were really annoying during radiation.Hope you"re feeling better this morning and some of the anxiety is turning loose. I can"t speak to the swelling. Call your doctor and describe it. If you think it is increasing don't wait. Peace of mind is better than money. Do try to walk around to get the lymph sytem to pumping. It is bruised and traumatized and needs a kick start. Hang in there. Everyday away from surgery is a victory. Jo :-D

      5 comments
  • Karen W Profile

    What tests, which type of drs., & how much time before the IBC diagnosis?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      See your OB/GYN or primary care with your concern. They might want to mess around treating for an infection which it might be. This is a rare type of BC but what you are after is a biopsy ultimately. You will be referred for a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. The amount of time for all of...

      more

      See your OB/GYN or primary care with your concern. They might want to mess around treating for an infection which it might be. This is a rare type of BC but what you are after is a biopsy ultimately. You will be referred for a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. The amount of time for all of this to take place is unknown because you are working with offices, labs and schedules. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Found a lump in breast,breast clinic had mammogram then ultrasound core biopsy and fna, lady who did ultra sound and biopsy said it looked serious and said the word cancer, then consultant appointed me a McMillan nurse and he mentioned malignant.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Welcome to our world. When I felt my lump, it felt bad. The doctor who did my biopsy told me to expect a malignant outcome....which was just the way it turned out. OK so that was the bad news. The good, is I went through treatment almost seven years ago and I am alive, healthy and cancer...

      more

      Welcome to our world. When I felt my lump, it felt bad. The doctor who did my biopsy told me to expect a malignant outcome....which was just the way it turned out. OK so that was the bad news. The good, is I went through treatment almost seven years ago and I am alive, healthy and cancer free. We can all tell you there is life after breast cancer. Stay with us here, we can share our experiences with you. If this does turn out to be cancer, there is a lot of treatment and as scary as it is, there is a lot worse things out there hang in there and take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Much like you and Sharon D, right from the start, my lump was believed to be invasive cancer. Your oncologist , or other doctor, will go over biopsy results with you. If you do have bc, a treatment plan will be made for you, based on your individual situation. I know I felt better just having...

      more

      Much like you and Sharon D, right from the start, my lump was believed to be invasive cancer. Your oncologist , or other doctor, will go over biopsy results with you. If you do have bc, a treatment plan will be made for you, based on your individual situation. I know I felt better just having a plan of action to follow. Try to take someone with you when your doctor goes over the pathology report with you. That will help you remember what questions to ask, and to help remember what was said.

      1 comment
  • Maria Crespo Profile

    Does it hurt when they put in the port

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      My port was placed at the same time as my mastectomy. The area was sore for a while. I know some women get it placed and have chemo the same day. I've had it for 2 years now, and don't even know it's there. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Mine was some under general anesthetic so I was sleeping. Didn't feel a thing.

      1 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