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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

    what if ultrasound shows nothing but mammogram does

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      This is not uncommon to have one test show something and another show nothing. You should keep investigating this until it is proven to be NOTHING. I was mis-diagnosed for 7 months until I could feel a lump and by then it was a much larger cancer that had spread to a lymph node. As scary as it...

      more

      This is not uncommon to have one test show something and another show nothing. You should keep investigating this until it is proven to be NOTHING. I was mis-diagnosed for 7 months until I could feel a lump and by then it was a much larger cancer that had spread to a lymph node. As scary as it is to keep pushing, it is much better to find out what those clumps of cells are by means of a biopsy. Just trying to share my personal experience and what I learned. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      What actually did they tell you? When I worked in Mammography at times something could be seen on the mammo. but not the U/S. Sometimes tissue can overlap on a mammo. and makes it look like a mass so an U/S is ordered &/or additional views are done to clarify it. In my case they saw 2...

      more

      What actually did they tell you? When I worked in Mammography at times something could be seen on the mammo. but not the U/S. Sometimes tissue can overlap on a mammo. and makes it look like a mass so an U/S is ordered &/or additional views are done to clarify it. In my case they saw 2 different things, right next to each other. One area was best seen on U/S and the other with additional images. The Radiologist told me he ordered the U/S of the one area and if it could be seen that way it needed a biopsy and doing it with U/S guidance would be the easist for me and cheaper. He actually captured a small part of the other area too, but we biopsied it with a stereotactic unit. Has he recommended any other studies or did he said come back in say 6 months unless things change?

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I was just diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma grade 2. Anyone out there with same situation? I am leaning towards lumpectomy, but wondering if it is the right way to go?

    Asked by anonymous

    about 8 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I opted for a bi lateral mastectomy, it gave me more peace of mind and I am glad I did it.

      2 comments
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      It would depend on so many different things. You mentioned your tumor is grade 2. Do you know what stage you are? Are you HER2 - or ? BRACA? What do your other tests results say?

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    How can one detect breast cancer early on her own?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years Answer
  • Thumb avatar default

    What does positive for CK AE 1/3, but negative for CD-68, ER and PR. They are suspicious for adenocarcinoma. What does all that mean?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      If this diagnosis is for yourself, contact your oncologist, radiologist, surgeon and ask them to translate this for you. If not for you but for a friend or relative, I would say the same thing. I don't have a clue and wouldn't even take much of a guess. "The patient" needs to have a face to...

      more

      If this diagnosis is for yourself, contact your oncologist, radiologist, surgeon and ask them to translate this for you. If not for you but for a friend or relative, I would say the same thing. I don't have a clue and wouldn't even take much of a guess. "The patient" needs to have a face to face appointment to have questions answered. This sounds like a complicated lab report and you need some translation. I am suprised when patients receive this kind of technical report and are left hanging. Hopefully, you or the patient will get some answers soon. I'd be standing on their doorstep to be the first one in line for an appointment. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Mary Foti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      It is so frustrating to get reports like this, isn't it? I took my path report to another surgeon and an oncologist to get 2nd opinion and a "translation." I was an English major for crying out loud! Anyway, call your oncologist and ask for an appointment to review these results. Typically that...

      more

      It is so frustrating to get reports like this, isn't it? I took my path report to another surgeon and an oncologist to get 2nd opinion and a "translation." I was an English major for crying out loud! Anyway, call your oncologist and ask for an appointment to review these results. Typically that is an appointment that is done anyway, after surgery. Your oncologist will help you interpret these crazy numbers and letters and recommend an appropriate and effective treatment for your stage, type and grade of cancer. If he/she does not explain it to your understanding and/or if you are not comfortable with that oncologist or the recommended treatment, find anther oncologist. Best wishes and please let us know what all of that means when you find out!

      Comment

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