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What The Cause Of Breast Cancer

What Does The Data Show

What is cancer? What causes cancer and how is it treated?

If you look at the evidence, its no wonder theres confusion.

We know that estrogen replacement given without progesterone to women who still have a uterus causes endometrial cancer. Studies published in 1995 found that women who had been exposed to HRT for longer than 5 years had a 32% increased risk of getting breast cancer. If the estrogen was combined with a progestin, it went up to 41%, and for those women who were post-menopausal the risk went up to 71%, while the risk of getting ovarian cancer went up by 72%.

Then in 2002, all hell broke loose. The huge Womens Health Initiative study was stopped early when the data showed an increase in breast cancer, heart disease, blood clots, and strokes in women who were given traditional HRT. As a result, millions of women were thrown into hormone hell when they were abruptly taken off the drugs by their doctors.

In this study, women were given synthetic estrogen PLUS synthetic progestin , synthetic estrogen alone , or placebo . Bio-identical progesterone was NOT studied.

The results showed that women in the two-drug group were 24% more likely to develop breast cancer than women in the placebo group. However, women in the estrogen-alone group did NOT have an increased risk . Further sub-analysis showed that the SYNTHETIC PROGESTIN was actually the culprit causing the increased breast cancer risk.

What You Can Do To Encourage Breast Cancer Awareness

If youd like to be an advocate for breast cancer awareness, committing to consistent self-education is the best place to start. Read up on accurate, up-to-date information on the disease, and do your best to stay abreast of new research in the field. Healthcare providers will be your most reliable sources for breast cancer information, so find a doctor you trust and seek them out if you have any concerns or questions.

You also dont have to wait for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to start candid conversations on the disease with the people around you. If you learn something new, share it with people you care about. Providing informative links from trustworthy sources is a good way to educate your loved ones. Talking openly about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment on social media may encourage those in your network to speak with their healthcare providers about undergoing regular breast examinations.

Theres never a bad time to do your part for breast cancer education and awareness. No matter where in the world you live, spreading essential knowledge about this disease and its treatments will help those around you get the care they need.

Is Breast Cancer Caused By Diet

Still, research on adult women in the United States hasnt found breast cancer risk to be related to dietary fat intake. But one study suggests that girls who eat a high-fat diet during puberty, even if they dont become overweight or obese, may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

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What Increases Your Risk Of Breast Cancer

Factors that can elevate risk breast cancer risk include:

  • A personal or family history of breast cancer, including DCIS and LCIS
  • Inherited genetic predispositions, most commonly with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations
  • Elevated lifetime estrogen exposure, including:
  • Early onset of menstruation
  • Late-onset of menopause
  • Older age of first childbirth or never having given birth
  • Taking estrogen and progesterone after menopause
  • Having dense breast tissue
  • Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

    Causes solitary cyst breast world breast cancer Vector Image

    Some things can raise a persons risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. The following list contains some breast cancer risk factors that can be controlled, and some that cant.

    Risk factors that cannot be controlled:

    • Being born female
    • Personal history of breast cancer
    • Family history of breast cancer
    • Inherited genetic mutations, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
    • Having Ashkenazi Jewish background
    • Certain kinds of breast lesions
    • Previous radiation therapy to the chest
    • Having dense breast tissue
    • Giving birth to a first child at an older age
    • Beginning menopause at an older age
    • Exposure to diethylstilbestrol
    • Socioeconomic factors. In all racial and ethnic groups, women who are more educated and have higher incomes are more likely to develop breast cancer. The reasons for this are unclear, but could be tied to things like diet and environmental exposures.

    Risk factors that can be controlled:

    • Lack of exercise
    • Post-menopausal weight gain
    • Drinking alcohol

    To learn more, visit Who gets breast cancer?

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    How Can I Take Care Of Myself While Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer

    Living with metastatic breast cancer can be challenging. Your care team can help provide physical and emotional support. Talk to them about how you can:

    • Eat the most nutritious diet for your needs.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get emotional support, including finding support groups.
    • Reach out for help from friends, family and loved ones.
    • Find mental health services.
    • Find complementary therapies.

    What Is Apbi In Breast Cancer

    In select women, some doctors are using accelerated partial breast irradiation to give larger doses over a shorter time to only one part of the breast compared to the entire breast. Since more research is needed to know if these newer methods will have the same long-term results as standard radiation, not all doctors use them. There are several different types of accelerated partial breast irradiation:

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    What Is The Best Treatment For Breast Cancer

    One common and effective treatment for breast cancer is radiation therapy . However, it does have some side effects. A doctor may recommend radiation therapy in combination with other treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy. There are two main types of radiation treatment: External beam radiation: This involves a doctor applying radiation

    Tamoxifen And Raloxifene For Women At High Risk

    What is cancer? What causes cancer and how is it treated? *UPDATE*

    Although not commonly thought of as a healthybehavior, taking the prescription drugs tamoxifenand raloxifene can significantly lower the risk ofbreast cancer in woman at high risk of the disease.Approved by the FDA for breast cancer prevention,these powerful drugs can have side effects, sothey arent right for everyone. If you think youreat high risk, talk to your doctor to see if tamoxifen or raloxifene may be right for you.

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    Does Progesterone Cause Cancer

    Many people, including regulatory agencies and members of the medical community, make the mistake of thinking that progesterone and synthetic progestins have the same potential for adverse effects. This erroneous thinking is the root of womens concerns that progesterone causes cancer. Its also why some states require labeling on progesterone that suggests that natural progesterone products may increase the risk of cancer.

    What Are The Long Term Effects Of Radiation Therapy

    • Chemotherapy may affect tooth enamel and increase the risk of long-term dental problems.
    • High doses of radiation therapy to the head and neck area may change tooth development. It can also cause gum disease and lower saliva production, causing a dry mouth.
    • Steroid medications may increase the risk of eye problems.

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    What Are Breast Cancer Subtypes And Why Do They Matter

    Your breast cancer subtype is one factor healthcare providers take into account when theyre deciding how to treat your cancer. Thats because not all cancer treatments are successful with all breast cancer subtypes.

    Providers look at your cancer cells to identify subtypes. Specifically, they look for molecules on your cells surfaces. These molecules, called receptors, are built to order so only certain substances can climb on and start affecting what your cells do.

    Breast cancer cells receptors are open to estrogen and progesterone. Understanding if your breast cancer cells have receptors and if theyre housing hormones helps providers determine how your breast cancer might spread and what treatment might be most effective.

    The other type of breast cancer that has another receptor is called her-2 neu. This receptor makes the cells more active, but allows healthcare providers to treat the cancer with specific medicines that target her-2 proteins. If your breast cancer doesnt have her-2 neu and hormone receptors, its called triple negative.

    What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

    Causes of Breast Cancer

    You will have lots of questions about your cancer, starting with your diagnosis. Here are some basic questions you might ask:

    • What is triple negative breast cancer?
    • How do you know my cancer is triple negative breast cancer?
    • Why did I get this cancer?
    • Do I need genetic testing?
    • Has my breast cancer spread, and if so, how far has it spread?
    • What is the stage of my cancer?
    • What is my prognosis or expected outcome?
    • What treatments do you recommend?
    • Why do you recommend those treatments?
    • What are those treatment side effects?
    • Will I need surgery? If so, what surgery do you recommend and why?
    • Im interested in participating in clinical trials. Are you able to help me find one?
    • Do you know if there are any local support groups?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Triple negative breast cancer is one of the more challenging breast cancers to treat. You might be discouraged by what you have read about triple negative breast cancer. But there are a number of very effective treatments for triple negative breast cancer, including immunotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. And every day researchers learn more about this rare cancer. Their knowledge is your power. If youre concerned you arent getting the straight story about your cancer, ask your healthcare provider to walk you through your diagnosis and treatment options.

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    How Is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Diagnosed

    The first step might be a mammogram to evaluate a suspicious mass or lump in your breast. Based on what they learn, healthcare providers might perform a biopsy to remove breast tissue. Then they examine the tissues cells to determine the cancer subtype. Identifying the cancer subtype is part of the staging process, which is when providers decide how to treat your cancer.

    Sometimes providers use the following tests before treatment to check on your tumors size and whether it has spread, or after treatment to monitor response to treatment:

    Environmental Links To Breast Cancer

    A growing body of evidence from experimental, body burden and ecological research indicates that there is a connection between environmental factors and breast cancer. Of the 42,000 chemicals in the market today, only 3,500 have been tested for safety.

    The U.S. government has no adequate chemical regulation policy, which allows companies to manufacture and use chemicals without ever establishing their safety in humans. As the use of chemicals has risen in the U.S. and other industrialized countries, so have rates of breast and other cancers.

    Key facts about the environment and breast cancer:

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    Cytotoxics And Targeted Therapies

    are a relatively new class of cancer drugs that can overcome many of the issues seen with the use of cytotoxics. They are divided into two groups: small molecule and antibodies. The massive toxicity seen with the use of cytotoxics is due to the lack of cell specificity of the drugs. They will kill any rapidly dividing cell, tumor or normal. Targeted therapies are designed to affect cellular proteins or processes that are utilised by the cancer cells. This allows a high dose to cancer tissues with a relatively low dose to other tissues. Although the are often less severe than that seen of cytotoxic chemotherapeutics, life-threatening effects can occur. Initially, the targeted therapeutics were supposed to be solely selective for one protein. Now it is clear that there is often a range of protein targets that the drug can bind. An example target for targeted therapy is the BCR-ABL1 protein produced from the , a genetic lesion found commonly in and in some patients with . This has enzyme activity that can be inhibited by , a drug.

    Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Breast Cancer Treatment

    Mayo Clinic Explains Breast Cancer

    There may be so many thoughts racing through your head after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Thats totally normal. Below are some examples of questions to ask your doctor regarding breast cancer treatment side effects:

    • Which types of treatment are available for my cancer?
    • What type of treatment or treatments are you recommending for my cancer? Why?
    • When will my treatment start?
    • What kinds of side effects are associated with this type of treatment?
    • Is there anything I can do beforehand to prepare for any side effects of my treatment?
    • How can cancer treatment side effects impact my daily life? For example, will I still be able to go to work or school?
    • What can I do to ease any treatment-related side effects that I may experience?
    • When should I contact you about treatment side effects? When should I seek emergency care?
    • What are the possible long-term side effects of my cancer treatment?
    • Should they occur, how will long-term side effects be managed?
    • Will my treatment impact my fertility? If so, are there steps I can take to preserve my fertility?

    It may help to bring a small notebook with you to your appointments. That way, you can jot down any answers to your questions and be able to reference them later.

    It may be beneficial to seek out support resources while youre being treated for breast cancer. These can provide you with more information, access to assistance, and ways to connect with others.

    Some examples of support resources to check out include the following:

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    How Common Is Breast Cancer

    The American Cancer Society estimates that a womans chance of developing breast cancer during her lifetime is about 13 percent. That translates to a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer. At the same time, it means there is a 7 in 8 chance that you wont develop breast cancer.

    In terms of cancers that affect women, 1 in 3 are breast cancer. The ACS reports that the incidence of a woman developing breast cancer has risen by 0.5 percent per year in recent years.

    How Is Metastatic Breast Cancer Treated

    The main treatment for metastatic breast cancer is systemic therapy. These therapies treat the entire body. Systemic treatments may include a combination of:

    Your care team will plan your treatment based on:

    • Body parts cancer has reached.
    • Past breast cancer treatments.
    • Tumor biology, or how the cancer cells look and behave.

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    No History Of Breastfeeding

    If you breastfed, your risk of developing breast cancer may be reduced, especially if you did it for a year or longer. Breast cancer reduction is just one of many benefits associated with breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for about the first six months of life, then continuing to breastfeed, supplementing with appropriate foods, for one year or longer.

    What to do: Consider breastfeeding, if possible, as it also protects your baby from many diseases.

    Is Triple Negative Breast Cancer An Aggressive Form Of Cancer

    What are the Causes ,Symptoms and Prevention of Breast Cancer

    Its true that triple negative breast cancers can grow quickly. But your prognosis or expected outcome depends on more factors than your cancer subtype. Healthcare providers will also consider your tumors size and whether it has spread to your lymph nodes and other parts of your breast. Its also helpful to know researchers are focusing on ways to slow the spread of TNBC.

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    Does Radiation Cause Pain In The Shoulder Area

    Pain: Some people experience mild discomfort or pain around the breast, or stiffness in the shoulder area. Over time, treatments should become less uncomfortable. Skin changes: Skin damage is a common side effect of radiation therapy, and having a good skin care routine is essential during treatment.

    What Is Male Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer in men is very rare, with less than 1 percent of all breast cancers found in men. The risk increases for older men and those with high estrogen levels, low male-hormone levels or a family history of breast cancer. Increased risk is also associated with those who have been exposed to radiation, heavy drinkers, and those with liver disease or who are obese. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and drugs that target genetic changes in cells that cause cancer.

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    Ways To Prevent Breast Cancer

    Breast cancer. Just reading those words can make many women worry. And thats natural.

    Nearly everyone knows someone touched by the disease.

    But there is a lot of good news about breast cancer these days. Treatments keep getting better, and we know more than ever about ways to prevent the disease. These eight simple steps can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Not every one applies to every woman, but together they can have a big impact.

    Screening And Breast Density

    HER2-Positive Breast CancerâReduce Your Risk of Recurrence | Access Health

    Screening is not routinely performed in women under 50 years.

    Dense breast tissue looks solid and white on a mammogram . You cannot see through it. This makes the mammogram more difficult to read.

    It means lumps or areas of abnormal tissue are harder to spot. This is why screening using mammograms is less effective for women with dense breasts.

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    What Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Metastatic Breast Cancer

    If youve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, ask your provider:

    • What are my treatment options?
    • What is my prognosis?
    • What side effects can I expect?
    • Will complementary therapy help me feel better?
    • What if I want to stop treatment?
    • How can I feel my best during treatment?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Metastatic breast cancer is advanced breast cancer. Providers classify it as stage 4 breast cancer. It happens when cancer cells, often left behind after previous breast cancer treatment, start to spread to other parts of the body. While there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, treatment can prolong your life and help you feel better. There are many medications available, so if one treatment isnt working, your care team can try a different approach. If you notice any symptoms or dont feel your best, especially if youve undergone breast cancer treatment in the past, talk to your healthcare provider.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/14/2021.

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