Breast cancer is a kind of malignant growth that affects the inner linings of the lobules or the milk ducts. Global statistics state that over 22.9 percent of cancer cases in the world are diagnosed for breast cancer. Breast cancer is mainly found in women, though there are cases of male breast cancer as well.
Approximately 14 percent of the total cancer deaths in women have been attributed to breast cancer. Numerous research studies have estimated certain causes behind the development of breast cancer in women. However, it must be noted that the causes behind the appearance of the disease in certain women, may not be prevalent in other patients. Given below is an insight into the common causes related to breast cancer in women.
Causes of Breast Cancer
According to estimates, 80 percent of the total number of breast cancer cases are found in women who have crossed the age of 50. It has been established that age is one of the most common factors associated with the risks of the development of breast cancer. Many ladies who have crossed their menopause stand a greater chance of being diagnosed for breast cancer.
It is very important for all women in the age bracket of 50-70 years of age to be screened for the occurrence of breast cancer. The NHS Breast Screening Programme recommends a regular screening every three years, until the age of 70.
Breast cancer may occur in women who have a history of any family member being diagnosed for breast or ovarian cancer. The chances of the disease being passed down the generation are very strong and there may be multiple instances of breast cancer cases in the same family.
According to recent studies, breast cancer is not hereditary. BRCA1, BRCA2 and TP53 are the genes that are responsible for increasing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. If these genes are passed on to the child through the parent, then there is an increased possibility of the offspring being diagnosed for breast cancer during some later stage in life.
Alcohol consumption is one of the most important causes of breast cancer. Even moderate quantities of alcohol consumption, increase the risks of the development of cancerous cells in the breast.
For example, the women who indulge in more than two drinks everyday, stand a higher risk of being diagnosed for breast cancer than other light or non drinkers. According to experts, alcohol should be totally avoided to eliminate the risks of breast cancer.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
If combined hormone replacement therapies are applied to a patient for a prolonged period of time, then the same may act as an important cause for the occurrence of breast cancer. Menopausal women often undergo hormone replacement therapy for maintaining their progesterone and estrogen levels and warding off other effects and symptoms of menopause. This dangerous side effect of HRT,which may lead to malignancy in women, is making natural remedies for the treatment of menopausal symptoms more and more popular by the day.
Though the association between stress and breast cancer is fairly weak, it has been identified as one of the indirect causes of breast cancer. Women, who have been exposed to stressful situations in life or are in the habit of taking undue stress, tend to indulge in smoking or drinking, thus increasing the risks of breast cancer.
Women who tend to gain more than 30 lbs of weight before their menopause run a higher risk of being diagnosed for breast cancer than those who are not obese. Women, who have already entered their menopause, tend to put on weight, which doubles their breast cancer risks. As the link between increased weight and breast cancer is quite strong, it is important for aging women to keep their weight under check through regular exercises and healthy dietary habits.
Using Contraceptive Pills
Contraceptive pills generally have progesterone and estrogen as their key constituents. The regular intake of pills as oral contraceptives increases the risk of breast cancer in sexually active women.
There are certain contradictory views about the nature of association of these pills to cancer. According to some experts, contraceptive pills reduce the risks of ovarian or womb cancer and the effect continues for approximately 15-20 years after stopping the pills.
Smoking is one of the main causes of breast cancer. According to a study conducted by the California Environmental Protection Agency, breast cancer in pre menopausal has a strong association with passive smoking. If a person has been exposed to smoking during her childhood or puberty years, then she has a higher risk of getting breast cancer in the later stages of her lifetime.
Smoking causes cancer. To completely eliminate the risk of breast cancer it is important to quit smoking and avoid the presence of active smokers.
Avoiding Breast Feeding
One of the main causes that have been attributed to the increasing number of breast cancer patients is the avoidance of breast feeding by many lactating mothers.
Women who breast feed their babies, experience a decrease in their number of menstrual cycles. Longer periods of breast feeding, helps in the maintenance of the progesterone and estrogen levels and reduces the risks of getting breast cancer.
Though the association of height with breast cancer requires more research and study, the interactions that take place between the hormones, genes and nutrition in taller than average women, make them more susceptible to breast cancer. According to this concept, a person who is shorter in height runs a lower risk of being diagnosed for breast cancer.
Exposure to certain radiations such as CT scans and X-Rays in medical procedures, may lead to the increased risks of being diagnosed for breast cancer. For example, women who have had a chest radiotherapy done earlier in life for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, should consult a GP for the probability of the risks of breast cancer.
There are certain other causes that are often related to the diagnosis of breast cancer such as the use of anti perspirants, wearing bra wires, pressing the breasts hard, etc. However there are no underlying theories or studies behind these concepts and so they cannot be cited among the common causes of breast cancer.
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