Doctors have discovered that breast cancer starts when some of the cells in your breast start to grow abnormally. These cells divide faster than healthy cells and accumulate until they form a lump or a mass. Cancer cells can spread from your breast into your lymph nodes or other parts of your body.
Often, breast cancer will start in the cells in your milk-producing ducts. Sometimes it will also start in your lobules (a.k.a. glandular tissue) or some of your other breast cells or tissues.
What are some causes of breast cancer?
Hormonal, lifestyle, and environmental factors may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. However, it’s unclear why some people who have no risk factors develop it while others who have risk factors never do. More than likely, there’s a complex interaction between your genetics and the environment at work here.
What are some risk factors for breast cancer?
Risk factors for breast cancer are anything that makes it more likely for you to develop this disease. However, just because you have some risk factors doesn’t mean that you will develop the disease. Many women develop the disease without having any known risk factors other than that they’re female.
Some of the factors that may increase the likelihood of developing the disease include:
- The fact that you’re a woman will make you much more likely to develop the disease.
- As you grow older, the likelihood that you’ll develop this cancer will also increase.
- You’ll have an increased risk if you’ve had a breast biopsy that discovered a lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS is an area of abnormal cell growth in your breast) or atypical hyperplasia (this is a precancerous condition affecting your breast’s cells) of your breast.
- If you’ve had cancer in one of your breasts, you’re at a higher risk of developing cancer in your other breast.
- Certain genetic mutations place you at a higher risk of developing this cancer. These genes are passed on from your parents. While they do increase your likelihood of developing cancer, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t mean you will develop it. In fact, only 5 to 10% of cancer cases are inherited cancer cases.
- Your risk of developing this cancer will also increase if you’ve received radiation treatments to your chest either as a child or as a young adult.
- If you’re obese, your likelihood of developing this cancer will increase.
- Anyone who started their period before they were 12 years old is more likely to develop this cancer.
- When you start menopause at an older age your risk factors increase.
- Women who had their first child after the age of 30 may also face increased odds of developing this cancer. Additionally, if you never have a child or get pregnant, then you’re at a greater risk than those women who’ve had at least one pregnancy.
- If your doctor prescribes postmenopausal hormone therapy medications combining estrogen and progesterone you’re at an increased risk of developing this cancer. However, once you stop taking these medications you should know that your likelihood of developing this cancer will then decrease.
- Drinking alcohol also increases your likelihood of developing this disease.
If you’re concerned that you may have breast cancer and you live near San Francisco, California, BASS Medical Group can help. Their elite team is made up of doctors who are experts in their respective fields. Call (925) 350-4044 to learn more or schedule an appointment.