Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women, and is one of the leading causes of death from cancer in women. There are several different types of breast cancer, each with its own characteristics and prognosis. The most common type is called invasive ductal carcinoma, which is also known as IDC. This is a form of cancer that starts in the milk ducts of the breast tissue.

The other common type of breast cancer is invasive lobular carcinoma, which starts in the lobules of the breast tissue. Other types include medullary, tubular, mucinous, metaplastic, Paget’s disease, and sarcoma. These forms of cancer can be identified by examining cells under a microscope.

The good news is that the majority of breast cancers can be detected early by self examination or by a physician. The bad news is that it is not always possible to detect all types of breast cancer in the early stages. Some forms of breast cancer may not even show up until they have reached an advanced stage. Early detection is key to successful treatment and survival.

There are many factors that increase your risk for developing breast cancer. Some of these factors include:

  • * Age – The older you get, the more likely you are to develop breast cancer.
  • * Family history – If either of your parents or siblings have been diagnosed with breast cancer, then there is a greater chance that you will get the disease too.
  • * Race – African Americans are at a higher risk for breast cancer than Caucasians.
  • * Reproductive history – Having children increases your risk of getting breast cancer.
  • * Menstruation – Women who have gone through menopause have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who have not gone through menopause.
  • * Hormonal therapy – Taking estrogen or progesterone drugs to treat other medical conditions may increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
  • * Alcohol consumption – Excessive alcohol consumption increases your risk of developing breast cancer, especially if you drink regularly.
  • * Smoking – Smokers have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, as well as lung cancer and throat cancer.
  • * Radiation exposure – Exposure to radiation such as x-rays increases your risk of developing breast or cervical cancer.
  • * Dietary factors – Certain foods have been linked to increased risk of developing breast cancer, including alcohol, fat, and red meat.
  • * Obesity – Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing breast, endometrial, and colon cancer.

Some risk factors cannot be changed. For example, age and family history cannot be altered. But many others can be reduced by making changes to your lifestyle. For example, being overweight can be prevented by losing weight. Being exposed to radiation can be avoided by limiting your exposure to x-rays and other radiation sources.

In addition to these factors, certain genetic mutations can increase your risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer. These mutations are present in some families, but they do not necessarily mean that you will develop cancer. However, if you have one of these genetic mutations, it can help you and your doctor to decide on the best course of treatment.

It is important to remember that there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.

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