The main reason behind breast cancer is uncontrolled growth and increase of cells in the breast. Breast cancer can develop in men and women alike, although it is more common in women. Breast cancer is very common in people, and comes second to skin cancer.
Causes of Breast Cancer
The common causes of breast cancer are age, gender and personal history. Here are some of them:
1. Genetic Reasons
One of the main reasons for breast cancer is family history on the maternal and paternal sides. The chances are highest if the relative had breast cancer at an early age, if it affected both the breasts and whether it is a near relative.
The risk is highest if the relative is immediate (mother, daughter or sister). It can also be probable if the relative is second degree (aunt or grandmother).
Males with breast cancer can also increase chances of recurrence in women. Relatives having ovarian as well as breast cancer can increase the risks considerably.
Genes are often related to breast cancer. 5% to 10% of the cases are thought of as hereditary, occurring as a result of changes or mutations in some genes which are passed along. When abnormal genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 are inherited, the risks are increased by 40% to 85%. Women having abnormal genes also develop breast cancer. Testing the genes may be expensive and not covered by insurance. However, before detecting the causes of breast cancer, women should discuss the risk factors elaborately.
2. Hormonal Reasons
Hormones play a major role in developing breast cancer. Women who commence their period early, aged about 12 or less or face a late menopause around 55, have high chances of developing breast cancer. The chances are less if the periods come late and menopause early. Women who have children before 30 may be protected, while not having kids at all can increase your susceptibility to the disease.
Women using oral contraceptive pills tend to be at higher risks which are reduced by terminating their use. Postmenopausal women who are put on progesterone and estrogen for many years display an increased tendency to develop breast cancer.
3. Dietary and Lifestyle Reasons
The incidences of breast cancer are higher in countries that show a high intake of dietary fat. Being obese is one of the important lifestyle related causes of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.
For instance, it has been observed that Japanese women inJapanshow a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, although the chances are increased once they come to theUnited States. However, the intake of high or low amounts of fat has not shown major changes.
The consumption of alcohol has been linked to the development of breast cancer. Chances are high if the quantity consumed is high. Women consuming 2 to 5 alcoholic beverages a day are 1½ times likely to develop breast cancer than non drinkers. Consuming an alcoholic drink a day also increases the risks.
The chances of contracting breast cancer may be abated with regular exercise, although there have not been any definitive studies to indicate the amount of exercise that is necessary to reduce the risks significantly. Studies have however shown that 25 minutes to 2 hours of brisk walking every week reduces chances of breast cancer by 18%.
4. Benign Breast Disease
Fibrocystic changes in the breast are a common occurrence. These lead to lumpy breasts with thick tissues. The condition is generally associated with breast discomfort, usually before the menstrual periods. It does not result in breast cancer. There may be other benign changes like those demonstrated in a biopsy as hyperplastic and proliferative which dispose women for later development of breast cancer.
5. Environmental Reasons
The chances of developing breast cancer are increased after a radiation treatment, although that takes a long time. Women who have received radiation treatment in their upper body for Hodgkin’s disease before attaining the age of 30 have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than the others.
Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
Diagnosis of breast cancer is often done by a mammogram which takes an X-ray of the breast to determine the growth of the disease or abnormal lumps in the breast. Ultrasonography uses sound waves of high frequency to identify the presence of liquids and solids in the lumps. The causes of breast cancer are also identified by aspiration where a fine needle is inserted in the lump to extract the liquid or tissue.