ZocdocAnswersWhat causes breast cancer?

Question

What causes breast cancer?

I am asking this question for my aunt in Burma. I am very close to her, she is about 56 years old or so and she has breast cancer. She has been getting surgery and she has been getting weaker. Why is that? What causes breast cancer, I am very concerned and I wonder what caused it. If this helps, when she was in America, she didn't know she had to get a check up on a doctor every 6 months or so. She waited for 2 years, and finally we heard the bad news. Can breast cancer be cured? Please help.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that your aunt has breast cancer, and hope for her full recovery. Breast cancer, like all cancer, is caused by dysregulated cell growth, meaning that some parts of your body start to grow without being controlled appropriately. They grow and invade other, healthy, parts of your body, taking the strength and blood supply from good tissue and thus hurting the rest of your body. That could be the reason that your aunt is experiencing the increasing weakness that you describe. Some people are predisposed to getting certain types of cancer due to genetic differences. This often occurs because their DNA (the blueprint that the body uses to make and heal itself) has small errors or mutations that make them more likely to have problems. Because it is often in their DNA, the family members of these people are observed carefully to make sure that they do not develop the same problems. In some cases, genetic counseling and testing are invaluable at giving peace of mind and treating problems before they become serious. Breast cancer can be cured when caught early and treated appropriately. Please continue to work closely with your aunt's surgeon, and ask these questions to him or her for the most personal answers.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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