Few exact causes of breast cancer are known for certain, but scientists have pinpointed several factors that have been found to increase the chances that a person will develop breast cancer. Physically speaking, breast cancer is caused by an abnormal growth in the cells of the breast. What causes the cells to change, however, is unclear.
Genetic defects are one of the known causes of breast cancer. Research has shown that there are two inherited genes – Breast Cancer Gene 1 and Breast Cancer Gene 2 – that can cause breast cancer. Women who have these genes have a considerably higher chance of getting breast cancer, and ovarian cancer as well.
Most of the time, however, breast cancer is not the result of a genetic inheritance, although genetics still play a role. Certain causes of breast cancer are thought to be the result of some type of genetic mutation. These mutations can occur from a number of different situations, including exposure to radiation and contact with certain chemicals, or carcinogens, that are known to cause cancer.
Many researchers today theorize that breast cancer is caused by a combination of genetic factors and environmental conditions. This is also the case with other types of cancer, and the research in ongoing to find out all of the different contributing aspects that may be involved with the causes of cancer.
The following items are not exactly causes of breast cancer, but they are considered to be the most common risk factors that are found in victims of breast cancer.
Activity. Science has shown that people who are physically active are less likely to get any form of cancer, and this includes breast cancer. Although it is not yet known why, women who stay in shape don’t get breast cancer as often as women who live a more sedentary lifestyle.
Age. Breast cancer is most common in women over the age of 60, and it is actually fairly rare in women who have not reached menopause.
Alcohol. The consumption of alcohol has also been found to be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer. Studies show that women who consume a high amount of alcohol increase their risk for breast cancer.
History. A person with a family history of cancer may have a higher risk of developing the disease. The same is true for someone who has already experienced some type of cancer in the past.
Race. White women are more likely to develop breast cancer than women of other ethnic groups.
Reproduction. Research has found that women who have children late in life and women who never have children have a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
Weight. Women who are overweight or obese get breast cancer more often than women who are of normal weight. This is especially true for post-menopausal women.
While the specific causes of breast cancer are not yet known, there are many things everyone can do to try and stay healthy and cancer free throughout their life time.