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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

  • anita anton Profile

    negative 3 her 2 positive, how serious

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Her2 means you will be given Herceptin for twelve months. It is specifically connected to stopping that receptor. This receptor hangs both inside and outside of the cell. It suggests aggressive cancer.
      About 25 percent a her2.
      Fewer are triple positive.

      Her2 controls how your cancer...

      more

      Her2 means you will be given Herceptin for twelve months. It is specifically connected to stopping that receptor. This receptor hangs both inside and outside of the cell. It suggests aggressive cancer.
      About 25 percent a her2.
      Fewer are triple positive.

      Her2 controls how your cancer is duplicating ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      What kind of information has your doctor(s) given you? That's where I'd start, sit down and have a discussion about it.

      Comment
  • Morgan Moser Profile

    My genetic testing is tomorrow. What can I expect?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Blood draw for me and I found out 3 weeks later. I was negative. However, I was at the hospital for about 2 hours because they ask all about my family history. Jayme

      Comment
    • Terri Way Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      If it is the BRCA test, it was just a blood draw for me.

      Comment
  • Mary Asman Profile

    Does natural hormone therapy work?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Does natural hormone therapy work for what? If your cancer was E/P+ you don't need to be taking hormones of any kind; natural or otherwise. That's my opinion and no I'm not a doctor.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Mary,

      You sound confused about hormone therapy and how it works. If you are ER+ PR+ Her2-
      you will be advised to take a HORMONE BLOCKER. Your cancer FEEDS off of hormones. The LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IT TAKE MORE HORMONES.....NATURAL OR NOT! Please quit trying to treat yourself and take...

      more

      Mary,

      You sound confused about hormone therapy and how it works. If you are ER+ PR+ Her2-
      you will be advised to take a HORMONE BLOCKER. Your cancer FEEDS off of hormones. The LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO IT TAKE MORE HORMONES.....NATURAL OR NOT! Please quit trying to treat yourself and take the advise of your oncologist. The hormone blocking drugs will starve any wandering cancer cells circulating around your body. If you start taking hormones.....natural or not, you are giving the cancer cells what they need to grow. Mary, please consult your doctor and get more information. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Tracy Lewis Norman Profile

    What is the difference between the grades and stages of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Tracy,
      Arrrgh... by the time you have completed your treatment, you will be an expert! So sorry it has to be an expert in breast cancer treatment. Have you heard what type of breast cancer you have yet? As several have said.... Stage is the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. My...

      more

      Tracy,
      Arrrgh... by the time you have completed your treatment, you will be an expert! So sorry it has to be an expert in breast cancer treatment. Have you heard what type of breast cancer you have yet? As several have said.... Stage is the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. My stage was was a 2B..... (a 2.3cm with 1 positive lymph node.) The grade is how agressive the cells are.... grade 1-relatively non-agressive, grade 2 - middle of the road. grade 3 more aggressive cells. Within the grade, there can be varying degrees of aggressiveness. You will also have a report on your cancer's sensitivety to hormones. It will be ER+ or - PR + or - and HER2 + or -
      Breast cancer is very individual to each person. You can have the same type of breast cancer as the next woman and that is where the similarities end. Your cells are unique to you. Your treatment will be developed because of the cells seen at your biopsy. You will wonder why your treatment is different from mine but it is because our breast cancer may be completely different on a cell level. It's confusing for sure. Each woman reaction to their treatments are all different too. Just as Jo says... bring every single itty bitty question to your interview. Best too, if you bring a friend who can either take really great notes or bring some kind of recorder with you. You are given a lot of information and you won't necessarily remember it all. We are always here for you as you go through your treatment. Hang in there.... there's a wonderful bunch of "sister's" out here to help. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Tracy Lewis Norman Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      i have grade 3 breast cancer but i dont understand that, im scared it is growing everywhere else. what does that mean?

      11 comments

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

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