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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

  • Niharika Sharma Profile

    My mom today got diagnosed with Infiltrating duct Carcinoma Nuclear Grade 2/3.I have no idea about cancer. We are consulting doctors but want to know how long does the treatment take and how painful it is.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 1 answer
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      There are some great videos on this site that explains some things in easy to understand terms. Everyone's cancer is unique to them so treatments are made for them and them only. I'm not sure where you live but does you facility have a breast patient navigator? They are trained to help...

      more

      There are some great videos on this site that explains some things in easy to understand terms. Everyone's cancer is unique to them so treatments are made for them and them only. I'm not sure where you live but does you facility have a breast patient navigator? They are trained to help patients get through things such as appointments, treatments, etc. Everyone too handles treatment(s) and the pain differently.

      2 comments
  • Lisa Cushing Profile

    I was just diagnoised with IDC. I don't know the stage yet. I have my MRI 12/21/2011 and see my surgeon the same day. What should I expect? Will I have to have chemo, radiation or what? Any info would be great!

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    almost 8 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I'm sorry to hear that Lisa. I know how hard it is learning you have breast cancer. I was diagnosed with IDC as well in May of this year. Your treatment will be determined after all your testing results are in. Usually a PET or CT scan is performed to see if the cancer has spread to anywhere...

      more

      I'm sorry to hear that Lisa. I know how hard it is learning you have breast cancer. I was diagnosed with IDC as well in May of this year. Your treatment will be determined after all your testing results are in. Usually a PET or CT scan is performed to see if the cancer has spread to anywhere other than your breast. Your Dr will look at the results from your scan and biopsy. That will show your hormone receptor status (ER & PR), stage, and HER status. All of those things will determine your treatment. It's all so overwhelming at first. Make sure someone is with you...and that person brings a notebook. Write down any questions you have before you go. Learn all you can about your type of cancer. Knowledge is power! Be careful about the things you read online. Some info is good...some isn't. One good book is "The Breast Book" by Susan Love.   Breastcancer.org is a great site and also has a good discussion group with other women in our shoes. The American Cancer Society is a great source for all kinds of info!! Join a support group if you can. It's helped me so much. The thought of going through treatment is scary....but it's doable!! You'll be in my prayers. Let us know how you are. 

      Comment
    • Carla Villa Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      To Diana Foster:

      2 comments
  • Brandi Carey Profile

    How do you read and understand a pathology report? My doctor wasnt much help.

    Asked by anonymous

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

      Brandi,
      If you can share it with us, we could help decipher it. They usually tell the type, location, size, stage, grade... which you already shared with us. Many times, if you can talk to a nurse in the doctor's office, they can take it down a notch for you. In some practices, or clinics,...

      more

      Brandi,
      If you can share it with us, we could help decipher it. They usually tell the type, location, size, stage, grade... which you already shared with us. Many times, if you can talk to a nurse in the doctor's office, they can take it down a notch for you. In some practices, or clinics, they have an R.N. who helps guide you through the process. They have lots of experience explaining what the pathology report or any other report says. Be sure to take somebody with you when you have other --meet-the-doctor-- appointments. It is freaking comfusing to take it all in. Hang in there..... take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Alice Klobukowski Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I sat down at the computer and googled each term I didn't understand. I made notes and asked about anything that I still dint understand.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Was anyone else told too much water is bad while going thru chemo? I drink about 100-120 oz of water with a combination of Gatorade.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 4 answers

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