Breasts are made up of glands called lobules that produce milk and thin tubes called ducts that carry the milk from the lobules to the nipple. Breast cancer is a group of diseases that affects breast tissue. Since, breasts are a part of female identity, which may be why, for most of us, having breast cancer is the biggest fear. We will be more afraid if a doctor says “You have breast cancer” than of a heart disease. Both men and women can get breast cancer, but it is much more common in women. What are the causes of Breast Cancer ? is now the common question that rises to your mind. Hence, read the complete article to know the causes for Breast Cancer.
Causes of Breast Cancer
Cancer begins when healthy cells in the breast change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass or sheet of cells called a tumor. A tumor can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but will not spread. Breast cancer spreads when the cancer grows into other parts of the body or when breast cancer cells move to other parts of the body through the blood or lymph vessels. As per a study, about one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. There would be a good chance of recovery if it were detected in its early stages.
The actual causes of Breast Cancer are not entirely known. But doctors believe that it occurs when some breast cells start growing abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. The cells may spread through your breast to your lymph nodes or the other parts of your body. Also, based on the research, Breast Cancer is the result of several factors that include genetics, hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors, etc. Know the early signs of breast cancer in women from the below sections of this article.
What Causes Breast Cancer ?
Every person should know the symptoms and signs of breast cancer, and at any time if an abnormality is discovered, it should be investigated by a healthcare professional. People who think that they have breast cancer will initially notice only one or two symptoms. Since the exact cause for breast cancer is not known, our genes, lifestyle, and surrounding environment will affect the risk of developing breast cancer. However, there are various risk factors that increase the chances of breast cancer. These factors may also one of the causes of Breast Cancer. Of these some may be modified or changed like lifestyle factors while others are non-modifiable.
Researchers also recommend that women should be aware of their breasts and should choose to do self-exams to discuss the technique with their GP. Because by performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to identify any changes in your breast more easily. Consider asking your doctor about the causes of Breast Cancer to get rid of it.
What is Breast Self-exam ?
Adult women of all ages should perform this breast self-exam for at least once a month. The breast self-exam is a way to check your breasts for changes such as lumps or thickenings. Early breast cancer detection is the key to improving your chances of surviving the disease. If you have discovered any unusual changes during the exam, you should report it to your doctor immediately.
Must Read: Identification of breast cancer
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. The risk factors of Breast cancer is anything that makes it more possible you will get breast cancer. But having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that you will develop breast cancer. Because most of the women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors other than simply being women and growing older. Women are much more likely to develop this cancer than men. Since the etiology of cancer is not yet known completely, factors given below may increase the risk of the disease.
The risk of breast cancer increases as we age. Most of the breast cancer cases diagnosed in women are those who have reached their menopause, i.e., over 50 years. It means that all women between the age group of 50 and 70 years should be screened every three years. Women over the age of 70 are also likely to get breast cancer and may need regular screening.
Also read: Types of breast cancer
Your Family History
Women who have a close relative or their mother or sister with breast cancer or ovarian cancer have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Genes are also one of the major causes of Breast Cancer. Although most of them are not hereditary, there are some genes that determine the likelihood of getting breast cancer. Women who carry the genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 are at a higher risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer. Some other genes that may increase the breast cancer are TP53, P53, P65, and ATM. Also, women who had breast cancer earlier are more likely to get breast cancer to the other or the same breast again.
Having first child at Older age
Women who give birth to their first child after 30 years may have an increased risk of breast cancer. Also, women who have never been pregnant will have a greater risk of breast cancer than those who had one or more pregnancies.
Exposure to Radiation
If you have undergone any radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, your risk of breast cancer is increased. Undergoing X-rays and CT scans may raise one’s risk of developing breast cancer.
Taller women (5’8″ or more) are more likely to develop breast cancer than those who are shorter than average. This may be due to interactions between genes, hormones, and nutrition. But the exact reason behind is unknown.
A normal breast contains lobules that produce milk and ducts that carry it. This glandular tissue contains a higher concentration of breast cells than other breast tissue and thus makes the breast dense. Also, Women with more dense breast tissue have a greater chance of developing breast cancer because there are more cells that can become cancerous. Younger women tend to have denser breasts and with age the glandular tissue in the breast decreases and is replaced by fat reducing its density.
Women who started having periods earlier, i.e., before 12 years or entered menopause later than usual have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The reason is that their bodies have been exposed to estrogen for longer. Estrogen exposure begins when your periods start and drops dramatically during the menopause. In the same way, women not having children, or having children later in life are also at risk of getting this disease as the exposure to estrogen is uninterrupted by pregnancy.
Previous Benign Breast Tumors
Having previous benign breast tumors are also one of the causes of Breast Cancer. Usually a benign or non-cancerous lump in the breast do not indicate breast cancer. However, some of the benign breast changes may lead to breast cancer. This includes Atypical ductal hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ.
Being overweight or obese after menopause causes more estrogen to be produced. Hence, If you are obese at your menopause stage, then you may be more at risk of developing breast cancer.
Drinking alcohol beyond the limit is also one of the causes of Breast cancer. The more alcohol a woman consumes, the higher her risk of developing breast cancer is. So if you want to drink alcohol, try to limit it to 1 per day.
How to Prevent Breast Cancer ?
Can Breast Cancer be prevented ? Preventing breast cancer is far more important and powerful than simply trying to detect it after it has already formed. The best way to fight breast cancer is early detection, whether that includes self-examinations, annual breast exams at your doctor’s office or mammograms. If you are worried that your breast pain or tenderness could be something serious, then make an appointment with your GP today. There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But you can prevent this disease in the first place by changing your lifestyle or following some tips.
Here are the useful tips regarding Breast Cancer prevention. Do follow these tips to prevent Breast cancer.
- Women who consumed more carotenoids had an even lower risk of developing estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer. We may find carotenoids in fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, carrots, and red peppers. So, eat the right foods every day.
- Avoid sugar, especially fructose because it is very harmful to the health.
- Avoid Charcoal or flame-broiled meats because they are linked with increased breast cancer risk.
- You should maintain a healthy body weight as excess fat produces estrogen hormone. Keep your weight in check frequently.
- Be physically active by doing some exercises for at least 30 minutes a day to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Researchers believe that breastfeeding can reduce the breast cancer risk. So, breastfeed exclusively for 6 to 12 months. It also has great health benefits for the child.
- Frequent smoking causes nearly 15 types of cancers. So, avoid smoking and alcohol or at least try to limit them.
- Avoid wearing underwire bras or those that doesn’t fit you. Because these may increase the risk of Breast cancer.
- Avoid birth control pills particularly after the age of 35 years.
If you found a lump or tumor in breast or observed any symptoms of Breast Cancer, then consult a doctor immediately.