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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

    Can breast cancer be spread though any kind of contact?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 6 answers
  • jenny l Profile

    Hi, I'm only 23 and I'm having a biopsy and sonogram done next week on the grape size lump I found under my armpit. Will that be enough to tell if it's cancer or should I ask for more tests?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 1 answer
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      With a sonogram they will be looking if the lump is fluid filled or solid they may also be checking if there are any other suspicious areas. There are different types of biopsies. Fine needle aspirate they insert a wide bore needle and aspirate some of the tissue and send it to the lab. A...

      more

      With a sonogram they will be looking if the lump is fluid filled or solid they may also be checking if there are any other suspicious areas. There are different types of biopsies. Fine needle aspirate they insert a wide bore needle and aspirate some of the tissue and send it to the lab. A cone knive biopsy they remove a cone shape tissue sample and send that for pathology and then there is a wide incisional biopsy that they remove the entire lump or suspicious area pathology is able to evaluate the whole area and the surgeon can check for clean margins. The surgeon will usually decide what type of biopsy will give the best diagnosis.

      9 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    can breast cancer be detected with an ultrasound?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • Laura Cornwell Profile
      anonymous
      Industry Provider

      Ultrasound can usually give doctors a better look at a mass than mammograms, but it is reserved for suspicious findings on physical exam or mammogram. Certain features on the ultrasound can increase or decrease the suspicion that a mass is cancerous. If an ultrasound comes out with suspicious...

      more

      Ultrasound can usually give doctors a better look at a mass than mammograms, but it is reserved for suspicious findings on physical exam or mammogram. Certain features on the ultrasound can increase or decrease the suspicion that a mass is cancerous. If an ultrasound comes out with suspicious findings, only a biopsy (or sample of the tissue) can truly confirm the presence of cancer.

      1 comment
    • Karen Schroeder Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      In my case a cyst was clear, but my tumor was solid on the ultrasound. When the doctor said the mass was solid I just knew. Anyway that is one of the ways they can decide if a biopsy is needed or not.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Found a lump under right arm

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    over 5 years 3 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Finding a lump is scary. I am so glad you did not ignore it. 80% of lumps are not cancer, however, please go to the doctor asap. It's best to get it checked out right away for peace of mind and to find out what it is. Please keep us posted on the results and keep the questions coming. We are...

      more

      Finding a lump is scary. I am so glad you did not ignore it. 80% of lumps are not cancer, however, please go to the doctor asap. It's best to get it checked out right away for peace of mind and to find out what it is. Please keep us posted on the results and keep the questions coming. We are here for you!

      Comment
    • Lisa G Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      It's a scary but go have it checked out. It maybe just a lymph node reacting to an infection. Bestbwishes!

      Comment

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