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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

  • Michele Saw Profile

    What's it like having an MRI?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Loud and not the most comfortable, but better than mammogram!! Really not that bad though. Anxiety is worse

      Comment
    • Melissa Meade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It isn't as bad as I anticipated. The machine is loud. If you have any anxiety issues, ask your nurse to give you anxiety medicine before the procedure. This will help you relax. I kept my eyes closed during the procedure too. I also listened to music through headphones which helped distract me.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is stage 4 fatal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Debbir Calvert Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      When I had breast cancer 12 years ago, a friend of mine had stage 4 breast cancer. It has been 12 years, and she is doing just fine. Faith and hope are the two words to remember. 

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      how long do stage 4 caner patients live

      Comment
  • Kimberlee Andersin Profile

    Today I get results from my PET scan and I'm scared as you know. What are the next steps?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 1 answer
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      It all depends what the PET scan discloses. It narrows down to the what your treatment course will be. You may have to have other testing... like a MUGA which test your heart (it is not a big deal at all). Do you know the type of breast cancer, stage, mets. hormone dependent, Her 2 status,...

      more

      It all depends what the PET scan discloses. It narrows down to the what your treatment course will be. You may have to have other testing... like a MUGA which test your heart (it is not a big deal at all). Do you know the type of breast cancer, stage, mets. hormone dependent, Her 2 status, etc.? It is kind of hard to predict not having more information. It usually goes.... surgery, chemotherapy, radiation but these ALL depend on the diagnosis.
      Please keep us posted. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    hurting under left arm pit & left side of breast, is that related to your breast

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Defiantly go to the doctor. Pain always indicates something needs attention. Could be nothing but you want to be sure.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Could be completely nothing, but anything that isn't normal in your breast area/armpit needs to be checked. If breast cancer is found, you need to catch it in its earliest stage.
      Good luck and take care, Sharon

      Comment

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

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