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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.
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.
Asked by anonymousLearning About Breast Cancer
Hi Vicky, I'm sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed last May with invasive breast cancer as well. It's such a shock when you're first diagnosed. It's a lot to process. It helps so much to talk to other women who have gone through the same thing. Not happy for the reason...
Hi Vicky, I'm sorry to hear about your cancer diagnosis. I was diagnosed last May with invasive breast cancer as well. It's such a shock when you're first diagnosed. It's a lot to process. It helps so much to talk to other women who have gone through the same thing. Not happy for the reason you're here....but glad you found us. :). Some women have their surgery first...then chemo. And other women have their chemo prior to their surgery. It depends on many factors such as size of tumor, stage, etc. I had chemo first to try & shrink the size of my tumor. I had my mastectomy 3 weeks after my last chemo treatment. Then I had more chemo 3 weeks after my surgery. But that doesn't happen too often. :). As Sharon said...when you get your path results back and have a set game plan, you'll feel much more in control. The time period could be anywhere from 3 weeks after your surgery on. Depending on your Onc. They'll probably want to do a port. You'll be so glad you did in the long run. It's so much easier in every way! I think the emotional aspect for me has been harder than the physical aspect. Just know you're not alone. Surround yourself with positive people. No "basement" people allowed! :). You're going to have "down" days. And that's ok. Cry when you need to. I'm a very positive person. But it's just normal and to be expected for you to be sad sometimes. Anyone that can be positive 24/7 doesn't have both oars in the water. ;). Read uplifting survivor stories. And there's a lot of them! My fav books are "chicken soup for breast cancer survivors", & "there's no place like hope" by Vickie Gerard. Plus you can key up a lot online. That kept me going. And we'll be here for you!!! There is a light at the end of the tunnel Vicky. I had stage 3C when I was diagnosed last may. I had 13 positive lymph nodes, two had broken outside the node, & a place in my chest wall. After chemo, surgery, then more chemo...now I have 6 more radiation treatments left. I am happy to tell you that my last PET scan showed no cancer!!!! I feel truly blessed! If you need any mastectomy tips...let me know. Much love & hugs
Hi Vicky, I wish you hadn't joined "our club". It is typical for treatment of breast cancer, to be different for nearly every patient. Lots of us have had the same diagnosis but in the big picture, treatment depends on microscopic findings by the pathologist. There is no set amount time for...
Hi Vicky, I wish you hadn't joined "our club". It is typical for treatment of breast cancer, to be different for nearly every patient. Lots of us have had the same diagnosis but in the big picture, treatment depends on microscopic findings by the pathologist. There is no set amount time for patients chemo. treatments to start. Have you had a consultation with an oncologist and if so, you can call him or her and ask the question? They will usually talk to you about having a port installed too. A port makes the delivery of the chemotherapy much easier. I know things have happened so quickly for you and your head is swimming with all sorts of questions. Things actually settle down once you get the surgery done and tests back. You will really have a solid plan laid out for you. Please keep in touch with us, we have all been there and will be happy to share our experiences. Take care, & healing hugs, Sharon
Asked by anonymousLearning About Breast Cancer
Just ask your Dr. if they offer the test. There are two different ways of testing. Orally, or blood test. It's a very expensive test so you might want to see if your insurance will cover it. It tests for both the BRACA 1 and 2 genes. I had this test and it takes approx 2 weeks to get the results....
Just ask your Dr. if they offer the test. There are two different ways of testing. Orally, or blood test. It's a very expensive test so you might want to see if your insurance will cover it. It tests for both the BRACA 1 and 2 genes. I had this test and it takes approx 2 weeks to get the results. :)
I had to swish scope three times and after each swish I had to spit it in a beaker. They unravel the gene through the sa1 comment 0
Asked by anonymousPatient
im a des daugher! born 1970, im 42, just finished radiation for stage 1, no lymph involvement. now they want me to get total hysterectomy...help3 comments 0
Lou, not sure if I'm a DES daughter but my mom was given a shot to prevent her miscarrying me as she had had several before. When she asked the dr years later, he yelled at her and stormed out of the room. I'm 46 and am the only one in my family with bc. Coincidence? I don't think so.1 comment 0
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