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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

    Is there a way to manage the shock I am having from the diagnosis of breast cancer a week ago?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • P C Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      Hello,

      I am newly diagnosed with DCIS. I fully understand how you feel right about now. I put this situation into God's hands. I educated myself about my diagnosis and I feel much better than I did at first. Just take it one day at a time. Find people you can confide in too. Stay active...

      more

      Hello,

      I am newly diagnosed with DCIS. I fully understand how you feel right about now. I put this situation into God's hands. I educated myself about my diagnosis and I feel much better than I did at first. Just take it one day at a time. Find people you can confide in too. Stay active and I know this part is hard, but stay busy. I have found when I stay busy I do not think about it as much. My MRI and surgery is next week (just days away) then radiation treatments. The hardest part thus far for me is the waiting. If that is where you are, just hang on. We are all in this journey together. God be with you, P Carter

      15 comments
    • Charlie Hansen Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I can only tell you what we've been able to do. We cried a lot than figured we have to do this so we have become educated as much as we can. Talk about it to those close to you. For us, our faith plays a major role also. God bless you.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have tumor of 8mm an is a ductal carcinoma. How bad is this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      What has your doctor told you? 8 mm is pretty small and ductal carcinoma means it's a cancer in the duct(s). We aren't doctors but this much I can surmise by working in the past as a Mammographer.

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Sounds early stage but you need to have consultation with your oncologist. Take a spouse or friend with you to your appointment and have them take notes. You need to ask lots of questions. Take care, Sharon

      4 comments
  • Arielle Pace Profile

    What's the youngest age someone has died of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Amanda Metivier Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I know someone who was 25.

      Comment
    • Jennifer Marks Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My cousin was 22.

      Comment
  • sally fakih Profile

    My LDH enzyme still high after two rounds of chemotherapy what does that mean ??

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Laura Cornwell Profile
      anonymous
      Industry Provider

      LDH is an enzyme that is found in cells throughout the body. The LDH value is elevated whenever there is any sort of cell damage/turnover. This means there are many situations in which an elevated LDH is totally normal. For example, older women who are undergoing bone loss from lack of...

      more

      LDH is an enzyme that is found in cells throughout the body. The LDH value is elevated whenever there is any sort of cell damage/turnover. This means there are many situations in which an elevated LDH is totally normal. For example, older women who are undergoing bone loss from lack of estrogen, or children who are growing have normal high LDH. In cancer the LDH is of interest because a high LDH can typically indicate cell death that is cancer cell death, whether from chemo or tumor necrosis.

      Comment
    • Bonnie Irwin Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Are you getting the neulasta shot as well? I was reading that can cause LDH to go up. It will go down when you are done taking it.

      Comment

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

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