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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

    it is normal rite, to feel heaviness of the breasts when near menses? but if the heaviness is always more on one side, is it something to be worried about?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 2 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Patient

      Heaviness was one sign I noticed it was only on one breast when I took my bra off other symptom that I had was a slight pulling feeling inside the breast later I would get sharp pains once or twice a month this went on for years until I noticed dried nipple .. Mean while I was being old my breast...

      more

      Heaviness was one sign I noticed it was only on one breast when I took my bra off other symptom that I had was a slight pulling feeling inside the breast later I would get sharp pains once or twice a month this went on for years until I noticed dried nipple .. Mean while I was being old my breast was fine until I finally felt a small lump then mammo detected my BC just speak up early is the key !! It's your life not theirs . I wish I knew this Earlier my gut kept telling me something wasn't right.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I think it is fine but I would bring up to your doctor for peace of mind.

      Comment
  • Ren  Brown Profile

    I had a child 4 months ago when she was 3 months I felt a lump in my left breast the dr put a needle in it and milk was inside so he said its a cyst now I discover a lump I under my right arm should I be worried

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 3 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      No, not worried, but any time you have changes in your breasts or lymph nodes, have it checked out. Better to be save than sorry. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would go into ask about lymph nodes. Clarify for peace if mind.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What is cancer that spreads into milk ducts?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      It sounds like you are asking about the most common form of breast cancer. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma or IDC.

      Comment
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      It starts in duct, which if it's contained there, it's better bc it hadn't spread. Often people don't need chemo, just surgery and radiation in this case, depending on what surgery shows

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What is the meaning of suspected right hilar lymph nodes? Does that indicate metastasis?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      They are identifying a lymph node (the right hilar lymph node) that looks suspicious. You NEED to call the radiologist, surgeon, or oncologist to explain what this means and show you on your diagnostic tests. This is all very scary because you don't have all the information you need. I don't...

      more

      They are identifying a lymph node (the right hilar lymph node) that looks suspicious. You NEED to call the radiologist, surgeon, or oncologist to explain what this means and show you on your diagnostic tests. This is all very scary because you don't have all the information you need. I don't know where this lymph node is located. I will tell you, I had a lymph node in my chest that also looked suspicious but it turned out to be just my lymph node. It was JUST large but not cancerous.

      Please contact your doctor ASAP so you can get the entire story and what this means. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • sally fakih Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thats exactly what is written in my report '' there are mildly prominent retrocaval , precarinal , retrosternal and suspected right hilar lymph nodes shwing homogeneous hypodensity .. No matted or amalgamated nodes are demonstrated

      Comment

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

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