Causes Of Breast Cancer: How Did This Happen
When youre told that you have breast cancer, its natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. But no one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. Doctors seldom know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesnt, and most women who have breast cancer will never be able to pinpoint an exact cause. What we do know is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cells DNA.
How Much Do Anastrozole And Exemestane Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Studies have shown that both anastrozole and exemestane can lower the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of the disease.
In one large study, taking anastrozole for five years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 53 percent. In another study, taking exemestane for three years lowered the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by 65 percent.
The most common side effects seen with anastrazole and exemestane are joint pains, decreased bone density, and symptoms of menopause .
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/31/2018.
Does Abortion Affect Hormones During Pregnancy
Concern about a possible link between abortion and breast cancer has been raised because abortion is thought to interrupt the normal cycle of hormones during pregnancy. Some believe that this interruption might increase a womans risk of developing breast cancer.
There are different types of abortion:
- Spontaneous abortion, which most people refer to as a miscarriage, is the loss of a fetus before 5 months into the pregnancy. It is often caused by problems with the fetus or with the maternal environment in which it is growing.
- Stillborn birth is usually considered to be the death of a fetus after 5 months gestation while still in the uterus .
- Induced abortion is a medical procedure done to end a pregnancy. It is what most people think of when they hear abortion.
All of these have been studied to see what effect they may have on a womans risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
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How Can I Detect My Breast Cancer Early
The best way for young women to find breast cancer early is to be breast self-aware. Become familiar with your breasts: their shape, size and what they feel like. Learn what is normal for you. Sometimes your breasts may change throughout your monthly cycle. If you are pregnant or nursing, your breasts will change even more dramatically. If you find anything unusual, see your doctor immediately and insist on a diagnosis. In general, women should have a yearly clinical breast examination by a doctor beginning at age 20 and start having annual mammograms beginning at age 45.
How Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer Diagnosed
Inflammatory breast cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Often, there is no lump that can be felt during a physical exam or seen in a screening mammogram. In addition, most women diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer have dense breast tissue, which makes cancer detection in a screening mammogram more difficult. Also, because inflammatory breast cancer is so aggressive, it can arise between scheduled screening mammograms and progress quickly. The symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer may be mistaken for those of mastitis, which is an infection of the breast, or another form of locally advanced breast cancer.
To help prevent delays in diagnosis and in choosing the best course of treatment, an international panel of experts published guidelines on how doctors can diagnose and stage inflammatory breast cancer correctly. Their recommendations are summarized below.
Minimum criteria for a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer include the following:
- A rapid onset of erythema , edema , and a peau d’orange appearance and/or abnormal breast warmth, with or without a lump that can be felt.
- The above-mentioned symptoms have been present for less than 6 months.
- The erythema covers at least a third of the breast.
- Initial biopsy samples from the affected breast show invasive carcinoma.
Imaging and staging tests include the following:
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- Other breast lumps
- Could be pregnant
- Change in shape or appearance of breast
- Nipple discharge that is clear or milky
- Breast pain and cause is unknown. Exception: continue if only occurs before menstrual periods or with vigorous exercise.
- Age 13 or older with no breast buds or breast tissue
- You have other questions or concerns
Breasts And Birth Control
Some research has shown that taking hormonal birth control slightly increases the risk of breast cancer. But once you stop using hormonal birth control, risk levels eventually return to normal.
An analysis of data from more than 150,000 women showed that, overall, women who had ever used oral contraceptives had a slight increase in the risk of breast cancer compared with women who had never used oral contraceptives.
If you use hormonal birth control and youre concerned about your cancer risk, discuss your options with your doctor before stopping your birth control.
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How Might Hormone Levels Affect Breast Cancer Risk
A womans risk for some types of breast cancer is related to levels of certain hormones in the body. Breast cells normally grow and divide in response to hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Levels of these hormones change throughout a womans life.
Breast cancer risk can be affected by a number of things that alter these hormone levels. For example, women who have more menstrual periods over their lifetime have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. The use of some types of hormones can also increase breast cancer risk slightly . On the other hand, breastfeeding might lower breast cancer risk slightly.
Living With Breast Cancer
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can affect daily life in many ways, depending on what stage it’s at and the treatment you will have.
How people cope with the diagnosis and treatment varies from person to person. There are several forms of support available, if you need it.
Forms of support may include:
- family and friends, who can be a powerful support system
- communicating with other people in the same situation
- finding out as much as possible about your condition
- not trying to do too much or overexerting yourself
- making time for yourself
Find out more about living with breast cancer.
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Should I Get A Second Opinion
For many women, taking the time to weigh their options means getting more than one medical opinion, or looking into clinical trials or research studies, Newman said.
“There is no magic deadline,” she stressed. “But a general rule of thumb is that we dont like to see patients delaying the start of their treatment more than four to six weeks after the diagnosis has been made. The stage and type of breast cancer can influence how quickly the treatment should be initiated.”
I Am A Brca Carrier What Do I Need To Know
“BRCA carriers are the highest risk group for breast cancer,” stated Schnabel. “BRCA1 carriers are at risk for breast and ovarian cancer their lifetime risk for breast cancer may be as high as 50 to 85 percent. BRCA2 carriers have a 40- to 60-percent lifetime risk for breast cancer, and are at an increased risk for ovarian cancer, and are also at increased risk for pancreatic cancer.”
According to Schnabel, BRCA carriers have three options to manage their breast cancer risk:
- intensive surveillance
- risk-reducing surgery
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Does A Benign Breast Condition Mean That I Have A Higher Risk Of Getting Breast Cancer
Benign breast conditions rarely increase your risk of breast cancer. Some women have biopsies that show a condition called hyperplasia . This condition increases your risk only slightly.
When the biopsy shows hyperplasia and abnormal cells, which is a condition called atypical hyperplasia, your risk of breast cancer increases somewhat more. Atypical hyperplasia occurs in about 5% of benign breast biopsies.
Puberty And Overlapping Breast Cancer Symptoms
When breasts begin to grow, they appear as a lump underneath the nipple. This is a normal part of the development process.
The breasts get bigger and rounder as the fatty tissue and milk-producing glands inside the breasts continue to grow. As the breast buds grow, you may notice tingling, aching, or itching in your chest, and your nipples may swell or become tender.
After your periods start, the changing hormones may make your breasts feel tender, swollen, or sore a week or so just before your period starts. This is all normal.
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Can Cancer Form In Other Parts Of The Breast
Cancers can also form in other parts of the breast, but these types of cancer are less common. These can include:
- Angiosarcomas. This type of cancer begins in the cells that make up the lining of blood or lymph vessels. These cancers can start in breast tissue or breast skin. They are rare.
- Inflammatory breast cancer. This type of cancer is rare and different from other types of breast cancer. It is caused by obstructive cancer cells in the skins lymph vessels.
- Paget disease of the breast, also known as Paget disease of the nipple. This cancer affects the skin of the nipple and areola .
- Phyllodes tumors. These are rare, and most of these masses are not cancer. However, some are cancerous. These tumors begin in the breasts connective tissue, which is called the stroma.
Do Mobile Phones Cause Breast Cancer
Theres no evidence that radiation from mobile phones has any effect on your risk of developing breast cancer.
Some people worry that radio waves produced and received by mobile phones may be a health risk, especially if they keep their phone in their breast pocket.
However, theres currently no evidence that radio waves from mobile phones cause breast cancer or increase the risk of developing it.
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How Is Breast Cancer Treated
If the tests find cancer, you and your doctor will develop a treatment plan to eradicate the breast cancer, to reduce the chance of cancer returning in the breast, as well as to reduce the chance of the cancer traveling to a location outside of the breast. Treatment generally follows within a few weeks after the diagnosis.
The type of treatment recommended will depend on the size and location of the tumor in the breast, the results of lab tests done on the cancer cells, and the stage, or extent, of the disease. Your doctor will usually consider your age and general health as well as your feelings about the treatment options.
Breast cancer treatments are local or systemic. Local treatments are used to remove, destroy, or control the cancer cells in a specific area, such as the breast. Surgery and radiation treatment are local treatments. Systemic treatments are used to destroy or control cancer cells all over the body. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy are systemic treatments. A patient may have just one form of treatment or a combination, depending on her individual diagnosis.
What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk
If several members of your family have had breast or ovarian cancer, or one of your family members has a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, share this information with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you for genetic counseling. In men, mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase the risk of breast cancer, high-grade prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
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What Is Breast Cancer In Men
Breast cancer occurs mainly in women, but men can get it, too. Many people do not realize that men have breast tissue and that they can develop breast cancer. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer and can spread to other areas.
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control. These cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. The tumor is malignant if the cells can grow into surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body.
To learn more about how cancers start and spread, see Cancer Basics.
Bse And Breast Awareness
Breast self-examination is a systematic method of regular self-inspection and palpation of the breast and axilla. Two large population-based randomized controlled trials in Russia and Shanghai followed up over a 5-year period could not demonstrate any beneficial effect of screening by BSE in terms of the size of primary tumor, incidence of lymph node involvement at detection, or cancer-related mortality. Several studies have shown that awareness regarding BSE is low and very few women practice it regularly.
At present, the emphasis is to raise breast cancer awareness among women and furthermore raise their knowledge about the warning signs of breast cancer. Breast cancer awareness programs have been very successful on several grounds including creation of greater compliance with breast cancer prevention and screening strategies. Being breast aware is currently defined as a woman becoming familiar with her own breasts and the way they change throughout her life. This enhances her sensitivity and alerts her to any abnormal change in the breast, at the earliest. The important warning signs to be looked for are as follows.
Lump, thickening, continuous pain in one part of the breast.
Change in size or lowering of one breast.
Discharge from nipples, rashes over nipple, changes in shape or position of nipple, nipple inversion, any skin changes like puckering or dimpling.
Swelling or pain under the armpit or around the collar bone
Abortion And Breast Cancer Risk
Abortion is an issue that can bring out strong feelings in people. These feelings are often linked to personal, religious, and political views that may have little to do with any connection to a disease like cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women , and its the second leading cancer killer in women. Because it can be a deadly disease, its one that many women fear.
Linking these topics creates a great deal of emotion and debate. But scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.
Can Squeezing Or Being Hit In The Breast Cause Cancer
An injury, such as falling or being hit in the chest, will not cause breast cancer. Squeezing or pinching the breast or nipple will not cause breast cancer either.
It may cause bruising and swelling to the breast, which can be tender or painful to touch.
Sometimes an injury can lead to a benign lump known as fat necrosis. This is scar tissue that can form when the body naturally repairs the damaged fatty breast tissue.
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What Are The Symptoms
The most common symptoms of breast cancer in men are
- A lump or swelling in the breast.
- Redness or flaky skin in the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Nipple discharge.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
These symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. If you have any symptoms or changes, see your doctor right away.
Breast Cancer And Teenage Girls
If youre a teenage girl, you might be worried about your risk of getting breast cancer.
Developing breast cancer when youre a teenager is extremely rare. Its also uncommon in women in their 20s and 30s. The vast majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over the age of 50.
There can be a lot of unreliable information and scare stories on the internet, so its important to use reputable websites or talk to your GP if youre worried about any changes to your breasts. You can also call our Helpline free on 0808 800 6000 to speak with one of our experts.
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Common Conditions That Can Be Treated
The following are breast conditions that are fairly common in teens. They cause symptoms that may be worrisome. But they are not serious. In many cases, they dont even need treatment. Talk with the healthcare provider if your daughter has signs of any of these problems.
Fibroadenomas. These are smooth, solid lumps of fibrous tissue in the breasts. They are not cancer , and are harmless. Fibroadenomas may come and go around periods. If your daughter has a lump, her healthcare provider can confirm whether it is a fibroadenoma. If the lump is growing in size or is painful, it can be removed.
Fibrocystic breast changes. This is the development of fluid-filled sacs in the breasts. They make the breast feel lumpy, tender, or painful. They are not cancer. And they dont make a girl more likely to get breast cancer. Treatment can help relieve symptoms. Reducing the amount of caffeine and fat in a girls diet may help. Your daughters healthcare provider can discuss other treatment choices with you.
Infection. Infection is the growth of harmful bacteria. Infection of breast tissue is possible, especially if your daughter is too modest to get a cut or sore on the breast cared for. Symptoms of infection include redness, warmth, red lines on the skin, or the skin feeling sore. Your daughter may also have a fever. If your daughter shows signs of an infection, call the healthcare provider. Treatment with antibiotics may be needed.