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Did I Cause Myself To Get Cancer?



  • GG27
    GG27 Member Posts: 1,308

    I did not take birth control or HRT, have always been thin, but I am tall & apparently that is a risk factor, who knew?? I never drank much alcohol or ate much red meat or processed food. I am BRCA neg. I was diagnosed with Bilateral BC before the age of 50, which is supposed to be really rare with few of the risk factors. GG

  • Deblc
    Deblc Member Posts: 154

    No you did not give yourself cancer. Nobody knows why some people get it and some don't. Exercise and diet apparently helps but it is no guarantee of prevention. There are people who eat "healthy" and exercise like fiends who still get breast cancer. There are people who eat junk food while lying on the couch 24/7 who do not get breast cancer. Risk factors do not guarantee you will get cancer. My father smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day for 30 years after having a collapsed lung from TB as a youth, and just died last year at the ripe old age of 83, from no other reason than old age. If anyone should've gotten cancer in my family, he was certainly the prime candidate. Yet he had no serious health problems his entire life. The reason you got cancer is the same reason we all got it. Because of freaking bad luck.

    or "it's Gods plan for you" because "everything happens for a reason." I say that facetiously because I'm basically an atheist, and it's comments like that from God-believers who make me want to rip their face off.

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363

    I got it from the stress stupid people caused me.

  • jcfree
    jcfree Member Posts: 30

    I did have HRT for about 8 yr. after hysterectomy at 34. Maybe this was a contributing factor for my BC diagnosis this past November 2014? Will never know for sure, but does make me wonder as my mother and two sisters so far have not had BC. My MIL who I was a caretaker for the past three years since she had a stroke asked me, "did I cause your BC?" Because of all the stress with caring for her, and I might add she does a good job of causing the people that care for her alot of stress. She knows she is very difficult to deal with. I no longer care for her daily, as I am not able to with all the SE's from my chemo rounds and debilitating fatigue, I only go over there on Sundays now to do her pills for the week and do her blood test for INR which has to be done weekly. My stress level has gone down quite a bit not having to deal with her every day. She really needs to be in a nursing home but refuses it. I have read where chronic stress can be a contributer to BC, so it makes me wonder that too.

  • QCA
    QCA Member Posts: 1,150

    Both my sister and I have had breast cancer.  She had HRT, I did not.  So, with us, HRT apparently was not a causative factor--just chance, I suppose.


  • kaza
    kaza Member Posts: 122

    Co .worker recently said to me ....well you took HRT, your grandmother had breast cancer,

    Really is hard moving on after getting a dx with breast cancer, without being made to feel we have caused it ourselves.....

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363

    I think people want to believe if they don't have any known risk factors they won't get breast cancer. False sense of security, the truth is if they really understood how we get cancer we'd probably have a cure.

  • SummerSun
    SummerSun Member Posts: 47

    My grandmother passed frombreast cancer and my mom took HTR for years and has not gotten it - she is 71. I never took HRT. I believe my Cancer was caused by the same thing that caused Meow's, stress from stupid people. Loopy

  • Fitz33
    Fitz33 Member Posts: 123

    I was also on HRT for a long time but did it contribute to my cancer? I'll never know, I just know I had cancer and I was the first in my family to have it but I was also told stress was a major factor and I did go through a very stressful period of several years when my cancer was supposedly growing. I'll never know, just that I had it and like so many others just grateful for the good care I had. It's not about finding blame, it's about finding beating this if we can.

  • oddducklady
    oddducklady Member Posts: 9

    While reading through this thread it just strikes me of all the complicated factors of this awful disease. What may be a contributing factor for some is not for others. Someone can do everything "right" and still get BC. I hate the word "blame" because it goes with "guilt" and there is no place for either with BC. Why my husband and not me? At least as yet. I do know that in reading all of the personal stories on this site and watching what my husband has gone through this past year I hate this disease. I have only positive thoughts and good wishes for all that are dealing and living with this.

  • morwenna
    morwenna Member Posts: 204

    You can't say "I KNOW my HRT caused cancer". It might have been a factor .... or it might not. You might choose to believe it, but there is no way to say that if you had not had it you would not have gotten BC .... any more than there is a way to prove that your stressful lives, your drinking, your weight or lack of exercise "Caused" your cancer. I suppose it is human nature to look for causes and subsequent blame. I guess if my mother had had breast cancer I would have blamed her. (I always blame my mother for everything anyway, and she's no longer here to defend herself!!) ;)

    You might have guessed: I'm in the "Shit Happens" camp.

  • Fitz33
    Fitz33 Member Posts: 123

    Morwenna, Thanks for the voice of reason

  • WinningSoFar
    WinningSoFar Member Posts: 126

    I don't believe that we know what causes breast cancer, at least not on an individual basis. I never took HRT but I got ER/PR + breast cancer. I had been under a fair amount of stress at that point, so maybe that played a part in it. Then 13 years later I got breast cancer again, but now it's triple negative. I retired from working 20 years ago so no one could have had less stress than I for the last 20 years. My oncologist doesn't think that the two cancers are even related to each other. Oh, I'm brca negative and no family history.

  • gemmafromlondon
    gemmafromlondon Member Posts: 46

    `Ladies! Ladies! Just stop there. You and I got bc because we have breasts! Everything else possibly might have been a contributing factor but we don't and cannot know for certain. There is no rhyme or reason to it - don 't beat yourselves up stressing over the past.. As far as I can gather from this thread we sure don't have dementia!

  • ddfair
    ddfair Member Posts: 65

    Don't know if I did anything to cause my cancer. However, I have to wonder if the synthetic estrogen my mother took while pregnant with me made me more vulnerable to future cancer. Especially since I was estrogen receptor positive. I am surprised there is no mention of in utero exposure to DES on this blog. There has to be a lot of us DES daughters out here. I can't be the only one.

  • kittysister
    kittysister Member Posts: 88

    I hope I don't have dementia! Ha! Anyway, since BC doesn't run in my family, I've wondered about the years I was on estrogen and the stress issues .. actually, still do have a few plus some new ones. Maybe it was a combination of both. I do know that my ER+ was around 98 percent. My doctor also told me his wife and mother were on estrogen. Maybe a couple of us had the same doctor!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,748

    Family history of breast cancer effects a very small number of those who develop bc, so the majority of us who have bc, have no family history. I'd also guess that many of us never used estrogen, yet we have bc. Not sure I'd use the words crap shoot, but not enough is knownwhat the cause or causes are.

  • cchix49
    cchix49 Member Posts: 23

    I did not use birth control, did not take HRT after hysterectomy, no smoking, drinking and had no family history of breast cancer. At age 65, I have IDC. ??????? So much for the golden years.

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929

    Cchix, the biggest risk factors are being female & aging

  • larkspur
    larkspur Member Posts: 19

    Just this morning, I came across this poem by the writer Grace Paley, who died of breast cancer in 2007 at age 84. It resonated with me, as I suspect it will for many of us here:

    I had thought the tumors...

    I had thought the tumors
    on my spine would kill me but
    the tumors on my head seem to be
    extraordinary competitive this week.

    For the past twenty or thirty years
    I have eaten the freshest most
    organic and colorful fruits and
    vegetables I did not drink I
    did drink one small glass of red
    wine with dinner nearly every day
    as suggested by The New York Times
    I should have taken longer walks but
    obviously I have done something wrong

    I don't mean morally or ethically or
    geographically I did not live near
    a nuclear graveyard or under a coal
    stack nor did I allow my children
    to do so I lived in a city no worse
    than any other great and famous city I
    lived one story above a street that led
    cabs and ambulances to the local hospital
    that didn't seem so bad and was
    often convenient

    In any event I am
    already old and therefore a little ashamed
    to have written this poem full
    of complaints against mortality which
    biological fact I have been constructed for
    to hand on to my children and grand—
    children as I received it from my
    dear mother and father and beloved
    grandmother who all
    ah if I remember it
    were in great pain at leaving
    and were furiously saying goodbye

  • AmyQ
    AmyQ Member Posts: 821

    I'm with Caryn on this one. No family hx, no HRT and still BC dx at 58. Phooey to those experts who want to blame us. Sometimes it's just plain bad luck.


  • larkspur
    larkspur Member Posts: 19

    You're welcome, Hydranne. I think it speaks to and for a lot of us.

  • okbecca
    okbecca Member Posts: 5

    Honeybair, I was prescribed -- and took -- hrt for almost a decade. I also had infertility treatments and took birth control pills. Now, I am the first person on either side of my family to have breast cancer, going all the way back to well before the Civil War.

    I'm also overweight -- and working to remedy that !! -- but a lot of my forebears were overweight and didn't get cancer of any sort.

    So, yes, I think I gave myself cancer. But, no, I don't "blame" myself. It is just is. I do, however, warn young women to stay away from bc pills, and other forms of hormonal interference with their body's normal functions.

    The main effect all this had on me was that I began to look at medical "advice" in a much more critical way. Remember calcium? We were supposed to take that to save our bones. Now, not so much. Remember eggs? Couldn't eat those because of cholesterol. Now, it turns out they were wrong.

    I take responsibility for the decision to have infertility treatment. But my doc gave me hrt as a health pill. Said it would save my bones, prevent hearts attacks, keep me young -- in short cure everything but a rainy day. I'm not mad at the doc about this. That was the "standard of care" at the time.

    Buuuutttttt, when docs began tossing "standard of care" at me with the breast cancer diagnosis, I decided to read, think and make my own decisions. Their dirty little secret is that, when it comes to cancer, their "science" is, at best, the latest guess.

  • dtad
    dtad Member Posts: 771

    honeybear....I too took HRT fro 8 years prior to my diagnosis. I asked my breast surgeon if they caused my cancer. He said most of his patients never took HRT. This is at a major NYC facility. I know it didn't help but no regrets!

  • Blessings2011
    Blessings2011 Member Posts: 1,801

    I just took a look at my post from 2013, and realized that no matter what I may or may not have done in the past, it just doesn't matter!

    I am totally with gemmafromlondon on this: I got breast cancer because I had breasts. Kind of makes everything else superfluous.

    (And yes, SH*T still happens.... Devil)

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,748

    Amen to that, blessings! Most women who take bc pills or HRT don't develop breast cancer. We know that family history is a factor for a very small percentage of those who get bc, so isn't a major risk for most.Being overweight is a risk factor, but most overweight women don't get bc. Doctors are not infallible, but they certainly are not guessing. Treatment reccomendations are based on what is known at a given point in time. When more or different things are known, recommendations change. That is how medical science moves forward and I for one, am glad!

  • Blessings2011
    Blessings2011 Member Posts: 1,801

    Hey, exbrnxgrl! Hug 

  • freshstarter
    freshstarter Member Posts: 4

    I was diagnosed with DCIS stage 0 in January. Calcification was the annual declaration at my mammograms, but this year there was a significant increase in my left breast. On 2/28 I had a bilateral mastectomy. My surgeon said that this type of cancer grew aggressively from the hormone patch ( Vivelle dot) I'd been using since menopause, probably 8 years or so prior....

    Needless to say, stopped using that immediately. But can't help wonder if it was a mistake to stay on it. And with year after year of the reports of 'calcifications', whymy doctor didn't even discuss the possibility of such problems?

  • Lula73
    Lula73 Member Posts: 705

    fresh starter- your surgeon is right that it likely helped it grow faster, but he didn't say it caused it. The patch has estrogen in it and estrogen feeds ER+ cancers. If you didn't use the patch it wouldn't have grown as fast as it wouldn't have had so much estrogen to feed on. But it still would've been there and it still would have grown larger (just at a slower pace) as some estrogen would still have been circulating from your adrenals anyway. Here's another way to look at it: maybe the patch did you a favor as it helped the cancer get discovered sooner since it grew so fast instead of growing slowly over a year or moreand possibly spreading until it would've gotten picked up on the mammogram.

  • Levron
    Levron Member Posts: 7

    I have not eaten red meat in over 50 yrs, never had a cigarette nor do I drink (not even beer nor wine). I exercise lots & am perfect weight. However I never had children, have dense breast tissue & did use topical hormones for about 5 years. I now have hormone sensitive cancer so I know the hormones I took were "feeding its growth." I had lumpectomy in Aug & just completed 30 rads. Unsure what caused (?) mine but it wasn't my lifestyle for sure.