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Breast Cancer - Causes Of Breast Cancer

Causes of Breast Cancer

The exact cause or causes of breast cancer are not known very well, but there are certain factors that influence the possibilities of breast cancer. Of these, some can be changed such as lifestyle factors while others cannot be modified.

Find below the risk factors and causes of breast cancer:


Non-modifiable risk factors for breast cancer include:
Age – The risk of breast cancer rises with the age and in most cases is diagnosed in women over the age of 50 years and those women who have had their menopause. 8 out of 10 cases of breast cancer occur in women above the age of 50 years, which suggests all the women between 50-60 years of age to be screened for breast cancer every 3 years.  
Gender – Though women are more at risk for breast cancer, this can also occur among men but very rare.

Family history – Women with close relatives who have breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. There are genes, which determine the likelihood of having breast cancer, which include genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 which increases the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer and it is possible that these genes passed on from a parent to their off-springs. There is a third gene known as TP53, which is also known to increase the risk of breast cancer. The other genes that include are P53, P65, and ATM.
Women with two or more close relatives from the same side of her family such as mother, sister, or daughter who have had breast cancer below the age of 50 are eligible candidates for genetic screening to look for these genes surveillance and screening for breast cancer.
Women with a previous history of breast cancer – Women with previous history of breast cancer in one of her breasts are more likely to get breast cancer in other breast or the same breast again.

Breast density – Women who have denser breast tissues are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, as there are more cells which can become cancerous. Higher density breasts also make it difficult to diagnose breast lump using a mammogram.  Women who are young tend to have denser breasts and the glandular tissue in the breasts decrease with age.
Women with previous benign (non-cancerous) breast tumors – Generally a non-cancerous lump in the breasts do not indicate breast cancer. However, there is possibility that some of these benign breast changes may further precede to breast cancer that include atypical ductal hyperplasia (cells growing abnormally within ducts) and lobular carcinoma in situ (abnormal cells growing inside the breast lobes).
Exposure to Estrogens – Breast cancers particularly those that are sensitive to hormones are stimulated to grow by the female hormone called estrogen. Women who begun their periods at a very younger age and have entered the menopause at a late age are more exposed to longer duration of estrogen secretion from their ovaries compared to those who have had a very shorter reproductive period in their life. In the same way, women not having children or women having children later in her life are slightly at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, as their exposure to estrogen is uninterrupted by pregnancy.
Height of a women – Women who are taller are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who is shorter than average.  This may be due to the interactions among genes, nutrition, and hormones. The exact reason is not known.

Modifiable risk factors:
Being overweight – Women who are overweight and/or obese are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer. It is believed that these women may have higher estrogen levels in their blood and also women who are overweight after their menopause will have higher production of estrogen in their blood.
Alcohol – Women who take higher amounts of liquor are more likely to get breast cancer.
Exposure to radiation – Imaging studies such as X rays and CT scans are believed to raise the risk of having breast cancer slightly and also women who have been exposed to radiation therapy earlier for cancer are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
Women who are on Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – Women who are on hormone replacement therapy need to take pills containing estrogen, progesterone, or sometimes both. Hormone replacement therapy is slightly associated with increased risk for developing breast cancer and the risk reduces after stopping HRT.
Breast cancer and Breast Implants – There is no proper evidence of breast cancer caused due to breast implants, use of antiperspirants, exposed to pesticides, or wearing under-wired bras.

Find below the:

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer       Types of Breast Cancer       Diagnosis of Breast Cancer    

Breast Cancer Treatment       Stages of Breast Cancer

How to Prevent Breast Cancer