According to experts, understanding what causes breast cancer is an important step on prevention. Risk factors range from the ones you can't control to those that you can.
Example of the risk factors that are out of your control is genetic mutations and aging. The ones that you can avoid are lifestyle factors such as excessive drinking of alcohol.
Experts still don’t know the exact risk factors that lead to tumors in your breasts.
They still can’t explain why it can happen that your friend develops the disease and you don’t.
But what facts can confirm is this: Neither bumping nor touching the breasts is a risk for tumors in the breasts. Also, be aware that your weight can encourage tumor growth.
1. Human Aging
Aging is one of the primary causes that you can't control. It's one of the risk factors that makes tumor prevention extremely challenging.
Women over 60 or who are already menopausal are more prone to develop tumors in their breasts.
But today, there are women in their 30s who also get tumors in their breasts. See Cathy Bueti's story on Surviving Breast Cancer.
The inflammatory type affects many young women. I have a co-worker who succumbed to it after almost 2 years of fighting it. It is a deadly type thus it is important that you know its symptoms.
Although a man can also develop tumors in their breasts, it rarely happens. Being a woman is a primary risk factor.
If you have abnormalities in either BCRA1 or BCRA2 genes, you have a 50 to 85% risk for tumor growth in your breasts.
4. Family History
If your family has a history of cancer, it makes you more susceptible.
Having relatives - in either your mother's or father's side - diagnosed with the disease is one of the factors that increases your risk.
5. Reproductive and Menstrual History
Your reproductive and menstrual history is one of the factors that can influence your susceptibility to developing tumors in your breasts.
The following are risk factors that may trigger tumor in your breasts:
1. If you had your first child late in life,
2. If you had your first menstrual period before age 12,
3. If you went through menopause after age 55, or
4. If you never had children. Nuns have the highest risk.
Tumors that grow in your breasts are one of the leading types of hormone-related cancers.
You are more susceptible to this type if you are under a hormonal therapy in which you are taking estrogen and progestin. Hormone therapy is often prescribed to manage pre-menopausal and menopausal symptoms and after menopause.
If you're Caucasian, you're at a higher risk for tumors to grow in your breasts compared to an Asian, a Latin, or an African American woman.
8. Radiation Therapy
Growth of tumors in your breasts are proven harmful effects of radiation. Sad but true because radiation causes secondary cancers.
If you were treated with radiation therapy for any illness like Hodgkins disease before reaching age 30, it can trigger breast tumor to develop.
9. Breast Density
Compressed and thickset breast tissues are also one of the risk factors. If you're overweight, your breasts have denser tissues. Prevention of breast tumor is difficult when you struggle with a weight problem.
10. Obesity or Being Overweight
What causes breast cancer? Facts point to obesity as one of the important risk factors because it increases production of estrogen. And being overweight after menopause further increases your risk.
If you would like to read on the link, see Cancer and Obesity.
11. Lack of Physical Activity
Weight gain is the result if you don't recognize the importance of regular exercise or you are a couch potato. Try not to gain so much weight. Any form of physical activity is recommended as it helps you maintain a normal body mass index and it also provides prevention against tumors.
To understand how being physically active can stop tumor on its tracks, here's an article you might like: Cancer and Exercise.
Alcohol should be avoided especially if you are susceptible to breast tumor or you are already diagnosed with it.
Any of these risk factors can be the reason for what causes breast cancer to develop. The list serves as your guide to prevention.
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