Breast Cancer – Risk Factors
The main types of breast cancer are Lobular carcinoma and Ductal carcinoma. Lobular carcinoma is fairly similar in behavior to ductal carcinoma but it begins in the milk secreting glands present in the breast. Ductal carcinoma, which accounts for more than about 75 percent of breast cancers starts in the lining of the ducts that bring the milk to the nipple. The other varieties may arise from the connective tissues, fat, skin and any other cells present in the breast.
Some risk factors of breast cancer are:
Early menses and late menopause – when women start their menstrual cycle before the age of 12 and start their menopause after the age of 55 years are at high risk.
Age – Age is a very significant factor. About 77 percent of new cases and 84 percent of death owing to breast cancer take place in women 50 years and older. About 80 percent occur in women over the age of 50 years.
Gender – Being female increases the chances of being at high risk from breast cancer. Breast cancer occurrence in men is less than 1 percent. This difference is because breast cancer risk is directly related to hormonal influences, but how it affects is still not clearly understood.
Radiation – Individuals who have been exposed to radiation at childhood are at increased risk.
Taking the birth control pills – Depending on the length of use, the age and other factors oral contraceptives only slightly increases the risk of breast cancer.
High-saturated fats diet – Mono-unsaturated fats have no apparent risk on the development of breast cancer as against polyunsaturated fats, which increase the risk.
Taking Diethylstilbestrol – Diethylstilbestrol taken to prevent miscarriages has an increased risk of breast cancer in women after the age of 40 years.
Being obese – is also considered to be a risk factor.
Exposure to chemicals – chemicals like pesticides and other industrial products may have an increased risk of breast cancer when exposed to.
Having a late pregnancy or no pregnancy at all – Women who never get pregnant are at high risk and so are women who get pregnant after the age of 30 years. Having a baby before the age of 26 is somewhat protective.
If an individual has a family history of breast cancer – Individuals who have a family history of breast cancer are at an increased risk of developing the disease. However, studies show that almost 85 percent of women who have developed breast cancer have no family history whatsoever of the disease.
A family history of breast cancer, which includes relatives such as mother, sisters, grandmothers and daughters, is often linked to either an abnormal BRCA 1 or BRCA2 gene.
Consuming alcohol – consuming more than 2 drinks of alcohol a day is considered to be an increased risk factor for breast cancer.
A history of prior breast cancer – if an individual has had breast cancer before the chances of developing it again in the unaffected breast are high.
Hormone Replacement therapy – Hormone replacement therapy, the hormone being Estrogen, in menopausal women indicates a slight risk in developing breast cancer. However hormone replacement therapy has greater significance in the treatment of heart disease, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.