The major causes of breast cancer almost everyone ignores

The major causes of breast cancer almost everyone ignores

Despite its high prevalence, breast cancer can be controlled and cured completely without affecting your life expectancy if diagnosed early. In this article, we will introduce you to the major causes of breast cancer ignored by most people and explain how one can prevent breast cancer effectively. What you will read next:

 

Breast anatomy

Estrogen and breast cancer

What are the major causes of breast cancer that most people ignore?

 

 

 

Breast anatomy:

Breast tissue develops in women during puberty mostly driven by the changes in the hormones within the body. Later in the life and during pregnancy, breast will get larger till the baby is born which then they will get ready for breastfeeding.

Breast tissues and their growth are very sensitive and dependent to female sex hormones. Among them, progesterone and specially estrogen are the main female hormones that affect the functioning and growth of the breast.

The major causes of breast cancer almost everyone ignores

Estrogen and breast cancer:

The more the mammary glands are exposed to estrogen, the higher would be the risk of developing breast cancer, specially the cancer known as adenocarcinoma.

In general, the main role of estrogen is to promote the development of the mammary gland tissues in young women as well as the growth of the mammary ducts which are milk passageways. On the other hand, we have estradiol which is an active form of the estrogen hormone that increases the size of the breast. Estrogen is usually secreted by the ovaries in the first half of the menstrual cycle, but recent studies have shown that estrogen may also be produced by breast tissue.

Due to the critical effect of estrogen on the growth and development of the mammary glandular structure, any factor such as contraceptive drugs or multiple pregnancies that increases the exposure of the breast to this hormone can also increases the risk of breast cancer.

 

What are the major causes of breast cancer that most people ignore?

The first set of factors are those that a person cannot change or have impact on such as:

  • Having a family history of breast cancer

  • Age

  • The length of a woman's reproductive period

  • Having breasts with dense tissues

  • History of breast cancer in first-degree male relatives (father, brother or son)

  • Having a breast cancer on one side

  • History of non-cancerous breast lesions and problems

  • Having a history of radiotherapy

  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES)

  • Gene mutations

 

Having a family history of breast cancer:

When there is a history of breast cancer in your first-degree relatives such as mother, sister or daughter, you may also have higher risk of developing breast cancer. If a person's first-degree relatives have developed breast cancer before the age of forty-five, or if their breast cancer has been bilateral, the risk would be even higher.

Attention: A Woman whose mother or sister had breast cancer should start breast cancer screening earlier than other people.

Age:

With age, the exposure time of mammary gland cells to estrogen will also increase. Although most breast cancers have occurred after the age of 50, younger women are not in a safe zone and they also can get the breast cancer.

The length of a woman's reproductive period:

Early onset of menstruation, such as experiencing the first menstrual cycle before the age of twelve, or late menopause, which mostly means after the age of fifty-five, can increase the risk of breast cancer due to the prolonged exposure of the breast to estrogen produced by the ovaries.

Having breasts with dense tissue:

Dense breasts have higher contents of connective tissues than non-dense breasts because of the amount of adipose tissues. Due to these variations in fatty tissues, it is more difficult to study dense breasts on mammography.

Having a breast cancer on one side:

Having a breast cancer on one side increases the risk of developing breast cancer on the other side.

History of non-cancerous breast lesions and problems:

Lesions such as atypical hyperplasia (this is a pathological term which addresses the increased number of normal cells in the breast tissue) or lobar carcinoma (benign cancerous involvement of milk-producing cells in the mammary glands) can increase the risk of malignant breast cancer.

Having a history of radiotherapy:

Women who have received chest radiotherapy before the age of 30 for various reasons (for example, to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma or being exposed to multiple radiographic images) will be at higher risk for breast cancer at an older age.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES):

Long time ago, the above drug was used to prevent abortion in pregnant women. Women who took the drug during pregnancy were more likely to develop breast cancer.

Gene mutations:

Some mutations (any alteration that happens to normal gene called mutation) in a person's genes predispose her to breast cancer. Some of the most well-known mutations are called BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. People who have these genes are more prone to ovarian and breast cancer.

The above items are the underlying causes of breast cancer that cannot be changed. But there are also a set of factors which can be changed and controlled by the individual, as explained below.

  • Inactivity and obesity

  • Pregnancy

  • Experience of hormonal therapies

  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages

  • Smoking

  • Night work shifts

  • Exposure to some carcinogenic chemical compounds

 

Inactivity and obesity:

Any increase in body fat mass will increase the risk of breast cancer. Therefore, by increasing your physical activities and preventing obesity, you can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Pregnancy:

People who have their first pregnancy after the age of 30, people who have not had a successful pregnancy, people who have not breastfed their babies or women who have not been pregnant at all are more likely to get breast cancer.

Experience of hormonal therapies:

Hormone replacement treatments in postmenopausal women that last more than five years can increase the risk of breast cancer. These medications are very common to reduce the risk or even the treatment of osteoporosis. Note that birth control pills can also increase the risk of breast cancer.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages:

Scientific studies have shown that a woman's risk of developing breast cancer increases with the increase of alcohol consumption.

The final words

You can help reduce your risk of breast cancer by getting enough exercise, controlling your weight, avoiding stress, reducing your intake of fast food, fatty and sugary foods, getting enough sleep, not drinking alcohol and smoking. So, stay healthy!

 

 

 

 

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