loading... close

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

    My doctor just found a lump. Now what?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      http://home.roadrunner.com/~amj/this is a link to my story of my personal experience with breast cancer. I take you from my initial diagnosis the biopsy surgery and reflection a year later. It's titled abnormal mammogram now what As your question states "my doctor found a lump what next" I had...

      more

      http://home.roadrunner.com/~amj/this is a link to my story of my personal experience with breast cancer. I take you from my initial diagnosis the biopsy surgery and reflection a year later. It's titled abnormal mammogram now what As your question states "my doctor found a lump what next" I had a similar question after my abnormal mammogram. I didn't know what to expect what next. Since your doctor found a lump he may order a diagnostic mammogram which is a mammogram with magnificated views taken at different angles for better evaluation he may order an ultrasound. An ultrasound can show if the lump is solid or fluid filled. A lump can be many things 80% of lumps are benign it could be a cyst or fibroadenoma (a benign growth). He may order an MRI if that is available in your health facility. After the mammograms and scans he may want to biopsy the lump. That maybe done Different ways. A fine needle biopsy they just us a open bore needle and aspirated the fluid or tissue from the lump. A incisional biopsy is done under local anesthesia and a portion or all of the lump is removed. Or a cone biopsy again under local or general anesthesia they remove a portion of the lump. I know this is probably all very overwhelming. Take one step at a time day by day. Ask questions take someone with you to your doctors visits. Two ears are better then one. We as patients sometimes are just so overwhelmed that we just shut down and can't talk so having someone with you knowing your concerns that can be your voice when you can't get the words out really really helps. Sending you positive vibes. Know that this is a great site with many supportive knowledgable wise women that can answer your questions and share their experience with you. Take care

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Finding a lump can be very scary. But there are so many non cancerous things it could be. Fibroadenomas are benign lumps, & there are fluid filled cysts. All lumps should be checked out ASAP though. You never want to take that chance. The only true way of knowing whether a lump is benign or...

      more

      Finding a lump can be very scary. But there are so many non cancerous things it could be. Fibroadenomas are benign lumps, & there are fluid filled cysts. All lumps should be checked out ASAP though. You never want to take that chance. The only true way of knowing whether a lump is benign or malignant is having a biopsy. You should talk to your dr about this option. Best wishes.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I'm eighteen and was told today I might have breast cancer. When I got a lump I found checked out, the doctor found two more I had no idea even existed! I'm getting an ultrasound next week. Any advice for dealing with nerves, preparing for bad news, etc.?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 4 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Lumps even multiple lumps are very common. We all worry when we find them. You are doing the right thing in getting them checked. The vast majority of these are not cancers and you have an excellent chance of these being benign.....NOT cancer. We can all tell you not to worry but it is human...

      more

      Lumps even multiple lumps are very common. We all worry when we find them. You are doing the right thing in getting them checked. The vast majority of these are not cancers and you have an excellent chance of these being benign.....NOT cancer. We can all tell you not to worry but it is human nature to have this fear. The best thing to do is stay very busy. Exercise, take walks, get together with your friends, anything to keep yourself occupied. Can you talk to your mom about this?. Please let us know how your testing turns out. When you have the ultrasound done, have them explain what they are looking for and what they see. I will keep positive thoughts for these to be nothing more than cysts. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      5 comments
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      The majority of lumps are not cancer. That being said like Sharon said talk with your mom or some other trusted adult. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Betti

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    Doctor wants to surgically remove 3-6 nodes using radioactive blue dye (not sure I want to be radioactive and certainly not turned blue) to test for cancer. Any cons to this? Has anyone done this?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 5 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It saves you from having more nodes taken them you need out. With just taking nodes I had 13 taken and only 3 had cancer.... Would have much preferred to just have the 3 taken. Lots of tests they do for cancer are radio active.. You pee it out quicly- drink lot s of fluid... PET scan and...

      more

      It saves you from having more nodes taken them you need out. With just taking nodes I had 13 taken and only 3 had cancer.... Would have much preferred to just have the 3 taken. Lots of tests they do for cancer are radio active.. You pee it out quicly- drink lot s of fluid... PET scan and Muga are radioactive... It is really hard to think about all of these toxic substance going in .. .

      Comment
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You pee the radioactivity out that day. A dye MRI and post surgery is radiation usually. You just have to get over it to give you the best control.

      Drink lots of water. Open the liver with citrus and coffee on an empty stomach
      Read about Tumeric and take a great probiotic.

      I get what...

      more

      You pee the radioactivity out that day. A dye MRI and post surgery is radiation usually. You just have to get over it to give you the best control.

      Drink lots of water. Open the liver with citrus and coffee on an empty stomach
      Read about Tumeric and take a great probiotic.

      I get what your saying but this blue dye is part of helping limit your surgery. It's information they can use to see the path of your lymph system.

      I also have to take a mugga test to check heart. That has a radioactive tracer in it too.

      Look at how you can clean your blood

      Best with this. Trust is a big lesson here. Hope you like your team.

      Comment
  • Frankie Graddy Profile

    I was told I have cancer in my left breast my left arm pit my left shoulder my liver and my spinal and it's abrasive what are my chances of living and fighting this

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Are you other wise in good health?
      Statistics are not good for stage four cancer. U C SF told me the average is three years. That of course means
      Some won't make it to three years and some will make it way past three years. It depends on how long drugs can keep it from growing. When one...

      more

      Are you other wise in good health?
      Statistics are not good for stage four cancer. U C SF told me the average is three years. That of course means
      Some won't make it to three years and some will make it way past three years. It depends on how long drugs can keep it from growing. When one drug stops another is then used. You can have good quality of life and in reality none knows if you are the one who will make it ten years!

      Comment
    • Karen G Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Stage 4 I was told is treated like a Chronic disease now. It is not curable but you still have the possibility of remission and still have the possibility to live for years. That is how I am looking at it anyway.

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 2

Inspire hope by becoming an advocate for breast cancer prevention.

spread the word