What Causes Breast Cancer
Breast cancer develops when abnormal cells in your breast divide and multiply. But experts dont know exactly what causes this process to begin in the first place.
However, research indicates that are several risk factors that may increase your chances of developing breast cancer. These include:
- Age. Being 55 or older increases your risk for breast cancer.
- Sex. Women are much more likely to develop breast cancer than men.
- Family history and genetics. If you have parents, siblings, children or other close relatives whove been diagnosed with breast cancer, youre more likely to develop the disease at some point in your life. About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are due to single abnormal genes that are passed down from parents to children, and that can be discovered by genetic testing.
- Smoking. Tobacco use has been linked to many different types of cancer, including breast cancer.
- Alcohol use. Research indicates that drinking alcohol can increase your risk for certain types of breast cancer.
- Obesity. Having obesity can increase your risk of breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence.
- Radiation exposure. If youve had prior radiation therapy especially to your head, neck or chest youre more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Hormone replacement therapy. People who use hormone replacement therapy have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
How Long Does Breast Cancer Last
Women diagnosed with early stage disease survived a median of 50 months, whereas those who were found to have stage IV disease at diagnosis survived a median of 14 months. Most of the women did not receive any additional treatment after surgery . The authors concluded that old women should not be under- or over-treated because of their age rather they deserve tailored treatment based on their specific circumstances.
If I Have Invasive Breast Cancer Do I Have To Have A Mastectomy
Mastectomy is one treatment for invasive breast cancer, but it isnt required in all cases, Tran says, especially now. Which treatments your doctor recommends and the order in which theyre given depend on several factors.
For example, she says, You and your doctor may decide that the best option for you is to undergo chemotherapy first. Chemotherapy can shrink the tumor and melt part of it away, so it is small enough to be managed with a lumpectomy instead of a full mastectomy.
If surgery is the best choice for you, new advancements for breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy with reconstruction can offer alternatives that preserve your appearance and self-image, such as oncoplastic breast reduction, nipple-sparing mastectomy, aesthetic flap closure and other techniques.
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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.
Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer can have several symptoms, but the first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue.
Most breast lumps are not cancerous, but its always best to have them checked by a doctor.
You should also see a GP if you notice any of these symptoms:
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- discharge from either of your nipples, which may be streaked with blood
- a lump or swelling in either of your armpits
- dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- a rash on or around your nipple
- a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast
Breast pain is not usually a symptom of breast cancer.
Find out more about the symptoms of breast cancer.
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Menstrual And Reproductive History
Starting menstrual periods at a younger age or going through menopause at a later age raises the bodys exposure to these hormones, which can increase a persons risk of breast cancer.
Those who start their menstrual period before the
to prevent miscarriage. Women who took this drug while pregnant and any children they gave birth to have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.
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Reproductive History Estrogen Is The Main Hormone Associated With Breast Cancer Estrogen Affects The Growth Of Breast Cells Experts Believe That It Plays An Important Role In The Growth Of Breast Cancer Cells As Well The Type Of Exposure And How Long Cells Are Exposed To Estrogen Affects The Chances That Breast Cancer Will Develop
The start of menstruation is called menarche. Early menarche is when menstruation starts at an early age . Starting your period early means that your cells are exposed to estrogen and other hormones for a greater amount of time. This increases the risk of breast cancer.
Menopause occurs as the ovaries stop making hormones and the level of hormones in the body drops. This causes a woman to stop menstruating. If you enter menopause at a later age , it means that your cells are exposed to estrogen and other hormones for a greater amount of time. This increases the risk for breast cancer. Likewise, menopause at a younger age decreases the length of time breast tissue is exposed to estrogen and other hormones. Early menopause is linked with a lower risk of breast cancer.
Late pregnancy or no pregnancies
Pregnancy interrupts the exposure of breast cells to circulating estrogen. It also lowers the total number of menstrual cycles a woman has in her lifetime.
Women who have their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 30 have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than women who have at least one full-term pregnancy at an earlier age. Becoming pregnant at an early age reduces breast cancer risk.
The more children a woman has, the greater the protection against breast cancer. Not becoming pregnant at all increases the risk for breast cancer.
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Patient Characteristics With Reference To Age At Diagnosis
Clinical factors and tumor characteristics of the six age groups are shown in Table . Distant metastasis at the time of diagnosis was more common with increasing age. There was considerably more missing data for the oldest age category concerning axillary lymph node status. It was more common for older women to have been regarded as unsuitable for surgery, and it was also less common for these women to have undergone an axillary dissection.
Table 1 Distribution of age at diagnosis in relation to patient characteristics, tumor characteristics, and surgical treatment
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What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
CDCs Dr. Lisa Richardson explains the link between drinking alcoholic beverages and breast cancer risk in this video.
Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.
Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.
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What Are The Early Signs Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer symptoms can vary for each person. Possible signs of breast cancer include:
- A change in the size, shape or contour of your breast.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A lump or thickening in or near your breast or in your underarm that persists through your menstrual cycle.
- A change in the look or feel of your skin on your breast or nipple .
- Redness of your skin on your breast or nipple.
- An area thats distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under your skin.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from your nipple.
Some people dont notice any signs of breast cancer at all. Thats why routine mammograms and are so important.
How Does Breast Cancer Start
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control. Different kinds of breast cells develop into different . Most breast cancers begin in the breast ducts or lobules . These are known respectively as invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Other less common types of breast cancer include inflammatory breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ.
Though breast cancer is most common in women, men can develop it as well. A mans lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,620 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
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How Do Womens Age And Time Periods Affect Breast Cancer Risk Estimates
Many women are more interested in the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at specific ages or over specific time periods than in the risk of being diagnosed at some point during their lifetime. Estimates by decade of life are also less affected by changes in incidence and mortality rates than longer-term estimates.
Stages Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer progresses through five stages. These stages are defined by the size of the tumor, the involvement of lymph nodes, and if cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Stages I to III are further divided into subtypes based on the size of the tumor and location of distant metastasis, such as lymph nodes.
Is It Possible To Get Breast Cancer A Second Time
Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer a second time. Some non-cancerous breast diseases such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ are associated with a higher risk of getting breast cancer. Family history of breast or ovarian cancer. A womans risk for breast cancer is higher if she has a mother,
Breast Cancer Risk Increases Over Time
The older a person gets, the more likely they are to develop breast cancer. In general, children and teens dont get breast cancer. About 90 percent of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women aged 45 or older. Additionally, about half of women with breast cancer are at least 63 years old when they are diagnosed.
According to the NCI, during each decade of life, a womans breast cancer risk increases.
- A 30-year-old woman has a 0.49 percent chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.
- A 40-year-old woman has a 1.55 percent chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.
- A 50-year-old woman has a 2.4 percent chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.
- A 60-year-old woman has a 3.54 percent chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.
- A 70-year-old woman has a 4.09 percent chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.
These numbers account for all women across the United States. Many other risk factors affect whether any individual will develop breast cancer, so each persons risk may be higher or lower than what these numbers show. It is also unclear whether these figures are affected by a difference in access to health care resources between individuals.
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Breast Cancer Statistics In Young Adults
Although breast cancer in young adults is rare, more than 250,000 living in the United States today were diagnosed under age 40. In young adults, breast cancer tends to be diagnosed in its later stages. It also tends to be more aggressive. Young adults have a higher mortality rate. As well as a higher risk of metastatic recurrence .
Treatment Of Breast Cancer In Teens
Doctors treat secretory adenocarcinoma by surgically cutting out the cancer while sparing as much breast tissue as possible.
Depending on the type of therapy and how long it lasts, it can affect your fertility and increase your chances of other cancers.
You can still breastfeed after breast or nipple surgery. However, some people may produce less milk than others.
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Epidemiology Of Breast Cancer
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Worldwide, breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in women. Breast cancer comprises 22.9% of invasive cancers in women and 16% of all female cancers.
The number of cases worldwide has significantly increased since the 1970s, a phenomenon partly attributed to the modern lifestyles.
Breast Cancer Stats In Australia
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. Approximately 55 Australians are diagnosed each and every day. That equates to over 20,000 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
About 1 in 700 men are diagnosed in their lifetime.
In 2021, over 3000 Australians passed away from breast cancer including 36 males and 3102 females.
Thats 9 Australians a day dying from the disease.
In the last 10 years, breast cancer diagnosis have increased by 36%.
Since the National Breast Cancer Foundation started funding in 1994, the five-year survival rates have improved from 76% to 91%.
Weve come a long way. But theres still progress to be made.
Thats why were committed to funding a broad spectrum of research to help understand risk factors, develop new ways to detect and treat breast cancer, improve quality of life for breast cancer patients, improve treatment outcomes and ultimately save lives.
Our mission: Zero Deaths from breast cancer by 2030.
The risk of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime is 1 in 7. The majority of breast cancer cases, about 80%, occur in women over the age of 50.
But breast cancer still occurs in young women, with close to 1000 women under the age of 40 projected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2021.
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Understanding Your Risk Of Breast Cancer
Several breast cancer risk assessment tools have been developed to help a woman estimate her chance of developing breast cancer. The best studied is the Gail model, which is available on the National Cancer Institutes website at www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool. After you enter some personal and family information, including race/ethnicity, the tool provides you with a 5-year and lifetime estimate of the risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Because it only asks for information about breast cancer in first-degree family members and does not include their ages at diagnosis, the tool works best at estimating risk in women without a strong inherited breast cancer risk. For some women, other ways of determining the risk of breast cancer may work better. For example, women with a strong family history of breast cancer risk should consider talking to a genetic counselor.
It is important to talk with your doctor about how to estimate your personal risk of breast cancer and to discuss risk-reducing or prevention options .
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Age At Diagnosis And Mortality Rates
In the past younger women tended to have a poorer prognosis.
One medical study examined 4,453 women with breast cancer over a 30 year period, all treated at the same center. The study showed that in general, women under the age of 40 years had a statistically poorer prognosis.
Furthermore, older ladies, over the age of 80 years at diagnosis also had a poorer prognosis.
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What Are The Breast Cancer Stages
Staging helps describe how much cancer is in your body. Its determined by several factors, including the size and location of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread to other areas of your body. The basic breast cancer stages are:
- Stage 0. The disease is non-invasive. This means it hasnt broken out of your breast ducts.
- Stage I. The cancer cells have spread to the nearby breast tissue.
- Stage II. The tumor is either smaller than 2 centimeters across and has spread to underarm lymph nodes or larger than 5 centimeters across but hasnt spread to underarm lymph nodes. Tumors at this stage can measure anywhere between 2 to 5 centimeters across, and may or may not affect the nearby lymph nodes.
- Stage III. At this stage, the cancer has spread beyond the point of origin. It may have invaded nearby tissue and lymph nodes, but it hasnt spread to distant organs. Stage III is usually referred to as locally advanced breast cancer.
- Stage IV. The cancer has spread to areas away from your breast, such as your bones, liver, lungs or brain. Stage IV breast cancer is also called metastatic breast cancer.