Tag Archives: breast cancer

Breast Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Breast Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

Breast cancer develops as a result of mutated breast cells. In approximately 10% of these cases, the mutations are acquired through genetic predispositions, while most cases of breast cancer are influenced by a combination of environmental, lifestyle or hormonal risk factors. In many of these cases the exact cause of the cell mutation will never fully be known.

Risk Factors Versus Causes

The direct causes of breast cancer are not well understood as it is a very complex disease, however we do know that common risk factors often play important roles in the development of different types of cancer. Having one or more risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop breast cancer, nor does being a carrier of certain genes, however risk factors do put you at greater risk of eventually developing the disease.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Some of the known risk factors that may contribute to the development of breast cancer include:

  • Inheriting certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Having a close relative with breast cancer
  • Aging. While some women develop breast cancer at a young age, generally your risk increases as you get older.
  • Being female
  • Ethnicity. Research illustrates that African-American women are at a slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer than Caucasian women.
  • Being exposed to radiation
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Drinking alcohol regularly
  • Undergoing hormone therapy
  • Having already had breast cancer
  • Early menstruation or late menopause – It is thought that estrogen exposure has something to do with breast cancer development.
  • Never becoming pregnant or having children late in life
  • Smoking increases the risk of most types of cancer, including breast cancer as there are over 70 known carcinogens in cigarette smoke.

The Bottom Line

These are not the only risk factors, for example, research suggests that women with chronic nutritional deficiencies, exposure to toxins or who suffer chronic inflammation may be at greater risk for developing breast cancer as well. While certain risk factors such as age, ethnicity and genetics are unchangeable, others such as weight or lifestyle choices like drinking and smoking are modifiable. Therefor, it is important to make all the healthy lifestyle choices you can if you wish to put yourself in a lower risk category for breast cancer development.

That concludes our look at the risk factors that can help contribute to breast cancer, keep an eye out for future posts on the topic. Thanks for visiting DocChat!








Can Alcohol Trigger a Latent Breast Cancer Gene?

It is common knowledge that drinking alcohol raises your risk of developing certain conditions such as cardiovascular disease, but can it also contribute directly to breast cancer? The answer is yes. According to multiple studies gathered by the American Cancer Society, as well as a particularly illuminating study conducted by a team of cancer biologists and researchers from the University of Houston, regular alcohol consumption is directly linked to escalating risk of breast cancer development in women.

How Does Drinking Alcohol Raise Breast Cancer Risk?

Alcohol can raise the risk of breast cancer in several ways:

  1. By increasing estrogen levels in the body which can contribute to hormone receptor positive cancer development.
  2. By damaging cells – alcohol is known to mutate healthy cells into harmful ones that make any part of the body more vulnerable to cancer, including breast tissue.
  3. By activating a latent cancer gene and decreasing the effectiveness of cancer medications: According to University of Houston cancer biologist Chin-Yo Lin, “Our research shows alcohol enhances the actions of estrogen in driving the growth of breast cancer cells and diminishes the effects of the cancer drug Tamoxifen on blocking estrogen by increasing the levels of a cancer-causing gene called BRAF.”

How Many Drinks Increase This Risk?

Even consuming 1 alcoholic beverage daily increases a woman’s breast cancer risk. According to the Breast Cancer Organization those who regularly consume 3-5 drinks have a 15% higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who don’t drink at all, with the risk rising by 10% with each additional drink consumed on a daily basis.

What About Cocktail Hour?

We aren’t saying women should never drink – we simply hope to make people aware of this research-established link between breast cancer and regular alcohol consumption. If you are a moderate drinker who is concerned about your breast cancer risk, there are ways you can curb your alcohol intake but still enjoy socializing. You can enjoy your favorite drinks ‘virgin style’ or opt for a couple social drinks a week instead of a couple daily indulgences. The Cancer Organization suggests limiting alcohol consumption to no more than 1 daily drink for women.

Other Lifestyle Factors To Watch

Aside from watching alcohol intake, there are other lifestyle changes you can make to help decrease your breast cancer risk. While making these changes doesn’t guarantee you won’t develop cancer, behaviors that may help you beat the odds include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Keeping your weight in check
  • Practicing caution when it comes to birth control or hormone therapy
  • Limiting toxin exposure

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Important Facts to Know About Breast Cancer

Abstract pink breast cancer awareness ribbon hope background

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the United States. Approximately 230,000 women are diagnosed with this disease each year, and about 2300 men. There are six types of breast cancer, but not all are fatal and for that reason, not treated the same way.

There are many things women should know about breast cancer, its diagnosis and treatment.

You need to know….

Breast cancer has become the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for young women ages 15-34. Still, finding a lump in your breast does not necessarily indicate that you have breast cancer. Blocked milk ducts, cysts or warts are common occurrences.

The best way to know if it could be cancer is to take a piece of paper and draw two circles to represent your breasts. Position your nipples accordingly against the paper and then draw the lump where you have observed it. Be exact about the size of the lump. Now, keep the paper in a safe place. After a week, follow the same drawing procedure. If it has shrunk or completely disappeared, then you don’t need to worry about it. If it is the same, larger or swollen, then you should visit a doctor.

You should know…

That not all breast cancers are life-threatening. About 1 in 4 types of breast cancer are not.

You must know…

Not to believe all the stories you hear online. Online stories can make your situation seem more frightening. Remember that treatment for one person won’t be the same for the other, even if two patients have the same type of cancer. What might have worked for or happened to the person online or a colleague may not work for or happen to you. While it’s good to hear that you’re not the only one experiencing this, it’s also good to follow what your oncologist says.

You need to know…

Dealing with such diseases requires support. Join a support group or visit a therapist. Research has shown that talking your heart out with someone helps you live longer. In conditions like this, it also increases survival rates. Meet someone often who is in remission, even if their experience was different, it is helpful to connect with someone who has a much better idea of what you’re going through. This will keep you get yourself motivated and help you fight the cancer.