Breast cancer develops when the breast cells have lost control over cell division. This causes the abnormal (cancerous) cells to accumulate and form a lump-like structure called tumor, which eventually spreads to other parts of the breast, the lymph nodes, and to the rest of the body. While the definite causes of breast cancer are not known, it has been found that the interaction between the genetic makeup of an individual and the environment causes cancer.
Causes Of Breast Cancer – Factors That Put Certain Women At Risk
Generally women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than men. Several risk factors that can increase the chances of a woman acquiring this disease have been identified. Here are some of them.
About 5 to 10% of all breast cancers have been found to be linked to BRCA1, BRCA2, and TP53 genes. Abnormalities in these genes have been associated with breast cancer. The risk of the woman getting breast cancer increases if she has a family history of of the disease.
This is one of the most common causes of breast cancer, as it has been found that about 80% of breast cancer cases are found in women who are above 50 years of age. As age advances, the risk of developing breast cancer increases.
A History Of Breast Cancer
Women who are breast cancer survivors are at a higher risk of developing cancer than women who have no history of cancer. In the case of the former, the cancerous growth is likely to recur later in life.
Non-Cancerous Breast Lumps
If the non-cancerous lumps found in a woman’s breast are not treated in time, they carry the risk of turning cancerous.
Thick Breast Tissue
Women whose breast tissues are thicker than normal are more likely to have breast cancer.
The estrogen hormone is produced in a woman’s body from the time she gets her first period to the time she experiences menopause. Estrogen stimulates the division of breast cells. Women who start their period early in life and experience menopause late in life are at an increased risk of facing breast cancer. This is because of a longer duration of exposure to estrogen. If a breast cell has the abnormal gene, with the help of estrogen, the cells multiply and result in a cancerous lump.
Exposure to high doses of X-rays and radiation from CT scans makes the woman more susceptible to breast cancer. Studies have found that women who have been subjected to X-rays run the risk of developing cancer later in life.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Women who have undergone HRT after menopause also face the risk of ending up with breast cancer.
Studies have found that the estrogen level is high in obese women who are going through menopause. A high dose of estrogen exposure leaves these women vulnerable to the cancer of the breast.
Certain studies have also found that tall women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than their shorter counterparts. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.
Women who are alcoholic are also key candidates for breast cancer.
According to research, women who work in industries that use carcinogens, such as the automobile industries, metal works, plastic industries, agriculture, and laboratories, are at a high risk of being hit with breast cancer.
As the causes of breast cancer are not definitively known, the best you can do is stay away from known carcinogens and reduce the factors that can put you in the high risk bracket of developing breast cancer. Ensure that you go in for regular checkups, so that if you have any cancerous growth in your breast, it can be diagnosed and treated at the earliest. Also, don’t ignore lumps in the breast or other breast cancer symptoms and consult a doctor immediately.