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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

  • karthikeyan karthikeyan Profile

    what kind of treatment for invasive ductal carcinoma

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Doria Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I was treasted for IDC. My tumor was over 5 cm, no lymph node involvement, no mets. They gave me neoadjuvent chemo followed by bilateral mast since I was BRCA1, then radiation. Staged at IIB, grade 3. I was also PR+. Am on Arimidex. Everyone is different. My doctors wanted to stop the...

      more

      I was treasted for IDC. My tumor was over 5 cm, no lymph node involvement, no mets. They gave me neoadjuvent chemo followed by bilateral mast since I was BRCA1, then radiation. Staged at IIB, grade 3. I was also PR+. Am on Arimidex. Everyone is different. My doctors wanted to stop the spread of the cancer cells ASAP and shrink the tumor before surgery. All of our treatments are different depending on the size and possible spread of the tumor. All treatments are tailored to the specifics of our cancers. I wish you the best and want you to know that you can live a happy and wonderful life once the treatments, tests, etc are past. I understand that this is one of the most common cancers for post menopausal women.

      Prayers and best wishes,
      Sharon Doria

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      You can expect the possibility of several types of treatment but it all depends on many factors as Cindy has stated. Treatments for breast cancer can be surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy. You will have consultations with a surgeon, and an oncologist. You will be having...

      more

      You can expect the possibility of several types of treatment but it all depends on many factors as Cindy has stated. Treatments for breast cancer can be surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy. You will have consultations with a surgeon, and an oncologist. You will be having many different tests to see how far or if the cancer as spread. All in all, it is a very involved Type of treatment but for everyone it is a little bit different because of targeted treatment just for you and your type of cancer. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Tayler Sinkovitz Profile

    What is the survival rate of having Stage 2 breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    about 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Taylor,
      As Jo says there are many factors that influence survival. One can start out by saying....
      "It depends...." A woman needs a lot of pieces of a puzzle and then it still "depends".
      What type of breast cancer, what is the staging, are the cells aggressive or low grade, what is the...

      more

      Taylor,
      As Jo says there are many factors that influence survival. One can start out by saying....
      "It depends...." A woman needs a lot of pieces of a puzzle and then it still "depends".
      What type of breast cancer, what is the staging, are the cells aggressive or low grade, what is the oncodx test outcome, is this hormone positive type....etc. as you see many different factors. She needs a bunch of information and then....most important.... she is an individual, not a statistic. A stage 2 can be considered early stage.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      There are many factors that come into play. Your doctor should guide you through it.

      Comment
  • Karen Schroeder Profile

    I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer on 9/7. Having a double mastectomy with reconstruction surgery is not scheduled until 10/18. It is not in the lymph nodes now - is 8 weeks a long wait for surgery? Afraid it will spread during the wait.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • L D  Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2004

      It depends on what stage. If it is DCIS (stage 0), then you are probably fine. Did you discuss your concerns with your doctor? I had early stage cancer and waited about 3 weeks before surgery. I had the bilateral mas. and reconstruction done at the same time as well.

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Karen, you should be ok. Have you discussed your concerns with your breast surgeon? Are you going to be receiving chemo or radiation afterwards?

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have in my left breast 1 yr ago and it turned out to be an abnormally lg tumor now I have one in my r breast and the r nipple is turning inward....do I need to worry?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      My breast cancer first showed up as a retracted nipple. Get to the doctor immediately!

      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Ya you should get it checked

      Comment

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

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