The causes of breast cancer and its prevention are probably the two major questions of every woman who are concerned about the disease. There are many myths surrounding this disease that are mistaken for facts. Some people believe that it cannot be prevented, and others believe that we cannot detect it through self examination. Those mistaken beliefs lead to confusion and even worsen the condition of the person suffering from breast cancer. To prevent it from occurring in the first place, we must know the causes and the risk factors. Gender and age are the two biggest risk factors. This type of cancer is more common in women over 50 years of age (around 65-70% of all cases). Race also plays a significant role; in the US, white women have a greater risk to develop the cancer than African American women.
If a woman has a history of cancer in one breast, the likelihood for the cancer to develop in other breast is increased by three to four times. Women who have a family history of breast cancer are also at greater risk. You should also be aware of any genetic changes and mutations that are passed along in your family. The disease is linked to the abnormal genes BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. Thus, women who inherit those abnormal genes, especially BRCA 1, should be more aware since they tend to develop the cancer at early age. Additionally, they are also at higher risk to develop ovarian cancer.
Hormonal factors also play a major role, too. Women whose period starts at early age (such as 11 years old or younger) and women who experience late menopause (such as 55 years old and older), are more likely to develop the cancer. Women who give birth before the age of 30 may be protected from breast cancer. On the contrary, women who never give birth at all are at higher risk.Besides child-bearing, breastfeeding is an important factor as well. Mothers who breastfeed their infants are less susceptible to cancer than those who do not.
Other lethal diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke are often linked to poor lifestyle and dietary habits. Breast cancer is not an exception. Women who consume alcohol regularly are at higher risk, depending on the amount consumed. On the other hand, it is believed that regular exercise may reduce the risk, although there is no definitive guide on how much exercise one should do. The risk is also higher in women who receive radiation therapy in the upper body to treat particular diseases before the age of 30, and those who are overweight.
Understanding the causes of breast cancer is very critical. It can help women to prevent the disease from ever happening. Do not let breast cancer take your whole life.