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

    35 years old everything going perfect, Never thought I will ever be DX with breast cancer, How? and Why? Tears

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 6 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Elaine Mills Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Can't quite get you off my mind tonight. I am a member of a facebook group called We Are Sisters that has been a tremendous help. We started the group right after two women randomly walked me through my first few days of shock finding out I had cancer. I am so thankful for them all, and...

      more

      Can't quite get you off my mind tonight. I am a member of a facebook group called We Are Sisters that has been a tremendous help. We started the group right after two women randomly walked me through my first few days of shock finding out I had cancer. I am so thankful for them all, and encourage you to join us and ask questions there. It is hard to even know what questions to ask at this point. But I do know the random spinning that your head must be going through. My first day was shock and I was strong. The second day my face kept leaking, even though I didn't break down. The third day, I found myself alone at home and couldn't take it. I went to a bar and "celebrated" boobies. Was not one of my finer moments. The next day I "ran away from home", which ... I kept my family informed of where I was the whole time, but I just felt I needed to get away. The following day, I hid like a hermit and decided I was not fit for public consumption. Finally, I had the day come around that I admitted to myself and my husband that I was ready to comply with whatever was demanded of me. This journey you are about to embark upon is not just a physical challenge. It is an emotional rollercoaster. Know that however you feel is okay. Become selfish for the first time in your life. Start removing all negativity from your life now. Protect yourself from stress and drama. Know that we are out here to embrace you on your sleepless nights. I am having one of those tonight. I used to be sad for people who found out they had cancer. Now it breaks my heart with every new diagnosis. This is not easy, but it is doable. I have so many cool suggestions of things I did to help me through surgery and recovery that I would love to share with you when you are ready. I don't come on this site often, but will try to follow up on you. I want to know how you are doing.

      Comment
    • Lysa Allison Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I understand exactly how you feel because I felt the same way. Once I got through the shock, I focused on treatment. I read as much as I could about my options and leaned on my husband and great friends. I learned a lot about myself through the experience. I am through all treatments and moving...

      more

      I understand exactly how you feel because I felt the same way. Once I got through the shock, I focused on treatment. I read as much as I could about my options and leaned on my husband and great friends. I learned a lot about myself through the experience. I am through all treatments and moving on with my life. My advice would be to take very good care of yourself through everything. Best of luck to you and keep us posted. God bless you.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default
  • Naz Youngs Profile

    I have a sharp pain in my right breast and I think there might be a lump on my nipple but maybe it was there and I havent noticed. What should I do?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I am with my "sister's". This could be a multitude of things, unfortunately one, is breast cancer. You should have this checked as soon as possible. Call your doctor today. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Go get it checked ASAP

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Greetings , I have Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer estrogen/progestrone pos.HER-2neg withKi-67. How do you know if the cancer has spread to lymphatic areas and what are the chances of surviving this kind of diagnosis?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Jo is right.... you still don't have all the information you need to see the complete picture. For example...." Ki-67 is a cancer antigen that is found in growing, dividing cells but is absent in the resting phase of cell growth. This characteristic makes Ki-67 a good tumor marker." The lower...

      more

      Jo is right.... you still don't have all the information you need to see the complete picture. For example...." Ki-67 is a cancer antigen that is found in growing, dividing cells but is absent in the resting phase of cell growth. This characteristic makes Ki-67 a good tumor marker." The lower the number in a Ki-67, the better.
      As far as your diagnosis goes, I would call it so far, so good. I had the same findings and am still alive and healthy 5 years later. My initial diagnosis was 2-A and then they found microscopic cancer cells in 1-5 nodes. Staging when to a 2-B. I chose to have a mastectomy and then 4 rounds of chemo. I am just finishing the 5 years of hormone blocking drug "Femara". (I could have had a lumpectomy)
      You are still in the diagnosis phase and need a few more pieces of the puzzle. Your doctor may request an OncoDX test which is a predictor of possible future reoccurrence. It is also a way to decide if you will need chemotherapy. Please keep us posted. Hang in there.... take care, Sharon
      PS.... I detest talking survivor predictions.... tests can only go so far. Each and every woman is an individual. Some pretty tough diagnosis's come out of this by living long lives! As many women say, we don't have an expiration date! Don't put mental limitations on yourself by trying to dig around for cold statistics. We are better and stronger than that!!! You ARE a warrior!

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Your staging is incomplete until sentinel nodes are biopsied. Sounds like you haven't had surgery. Hopefully you asked these questions to your surgeon. Be aggressive with those.

      3 comments

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