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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

    I've had an inverted nipple my whole life, and I have a slight pain every now and then beneath it. I'm 21 years old. Is this normal for someone who naturally has in inverted nip? I'm embarrassed to tell my mom about this and worried to go to the doctors.

    Asked by anonymous

    almost 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      At your age you can make your own doctor appointments. At your next yearly check up with the gyn he/she should be doing a breast check. If you haven't been doing you female yearly find a gyn and get a breast check.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Make an appointment with your doctor. This is of concern to YOU. You don't have to tell you mother about this if it embarrasses you. You are an adult and should have this checked. We can't tell you what is wrong and why this is happening. We certainly can't tell you this is all right and...

      more

      Make an appointment with your doctor. This is of concern to YOU. You don't have to tell you mother about this if it embarrasses you. You are an adult and should have this checked. We can't tell you what is wrong and why this is happening. We certainly can't tell you this is all right and nothing to worry about. If I were you, I would see why this is happening.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Why is my reconstructed breast area STILL VERY SORE after surgery three years ago?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2008
    about 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Karen,
      The person to ask is the surgeon or get a second opinion from a new surgeon. 3 years is a L-O-N-G time. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Have you done PT?

      3 comments
  • tamara carr Profile

    I have been diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, stage 1. What is the best course or treatment?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Tamara,
      Your doctor will probably give you some options. One of my friends is going through treatment for this right now. She is pre-menopausal and has several spots showing up on her mammogram that turned out to be malignant. She was hoping she could have a lumpectomy but it was too...

      more

      Hi Tamara,
      Your doctor will probably give you some options. One of my friends is going through treatment for this right now. She is pre-menopausal and has several spots showing up on her mammogram that turned out to be malignant. She was hoping she could have a lumpectomy but it was too widespread. She had a mastectomy and will be having reconstruction, no chemo.
      Your treatment plan depends on a lot of things on a cellular level. No two women's treatment plans seem to be the same. The pathology may be similar, with the same overall diagnosis but the treatment plans depend on that microscopic detection. Good luck to you! Sharon

      Comment
    • Jodie Brummet Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 last year. I was able to have lumpectomy followed by radiation. I am premenopausal and take Tamoxifen. I also had negative genetic test. Ask many questions and you will find what is the best treatment path for you.

      Comment
  • Kimberly Brown Profile

    How can I get it contact with male survivors to speak to a group at my college in Tampa, FL?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Kimberly,
      I am sure you have plenty of men in Florida who have had breast cancer but the problem is dragging them out from the shadows. My brother-in-law, was diagnosed with breast cancer last December. He works for a police agency and was so humilified by the diagnosis, he kept totally...

      more

      Kimberly,
      I am sure you have plenty of men in Florida who have had breast cancer but the problem is dragging them out from the shadows. My brother-in-law, was diagnosed with breast cancer last December. He works for a police agency and was so humilified by the diagnosis, he kept totally silent. It is just not a type of cancer that men can come forward and share. I told my brother-in-law, cancer IS CANCER no matter what part of the body it is found. There continues to be a stigma with male breast cancer. My brother-in-law went through a relatively easy treatment and is cancer free. It was discovered at a very early stage. Good luck to you. I completely support your endeavor! Sharon

      Comment
    • Traciann brundage Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It might be hard to get a hold of men they are. A lot more private .

      Comment

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

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