How breast cancer occurs
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What you need to know about breast cancer
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Certain DNA changes are passed on from parents inherited and can greatly increase your risk for breast cancer. Hormones seem to play a role in many cases of breast cancer, but just how this happens is not fully understood. DNA is the chemical in our cells that makes up our genes. Genes have the instructions for how our cells function. Some DNA mutations are inherited or passed to you from your parents. They cause many of the cancers that run in some families and often cause cancer when people are younger. But most DNA changes linked to breast cancer are acquired. This means the change takes place in breast cells during a person's life rather than having been inherited or born with them.
Acquired DNA changes take place over time and are only in the breast cancer cells. Mutated DNA can lead to mutated genes. Some genes control when our cells grow, divide into new cells, and die. Changes in these genes can cause the cells to lose normal control and are linked to cancer. Proto-oncogenes Proto-oncogenes are genes that help cells grow normally. When this happens, the cell grows out of control and makes more cells that grow out of control. It is the excessive cell growth that causes cancer. Breast cancer usually starts in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk.
From there, it can spread to other parts of the body. Risk factors The exact cause remains unclear, but some risk factors make it more likely.
Some of these are preventable. Age Bfeast risk increases with age. At 20 years, the chance of developing breast cancer in the next decade is 0. By the age of 70 years, this figure goes up to 3. Genetics If a close relative has or has had, breast cancer, the risk is higher. These genes can be inherited. TP53 is another gene that is linked to a greater breast cancer risk.
A history of breast cancer or breast lumps Women who have had breast cancer before are more likely to have it again, compared with those who have no history of the disease. Having some types of benign, or non-cancerous breast lumps increases the chance of developing cancer later on. Examples include atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ. Dense breast tissue Breast cancer is more likely to develop in higher density breast tissue. Estrogen exposure and breast-feeding Being exposed to estrogen for a longer period appears to increase the risk of breast cancer.
This could be due to starting periods earlier or entering menopause later than average. Between these times, estrogen levels are higher.
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Breast-feeding, especially for over 1 year, appears to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer, possibly because pregnancy followed by breastfeeding reduces exposure to estrogen. Body weight Women who are overweight or have obesity after menopause may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, possibly due to higher levels of estrogen. High sugar intake may also be a factor. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Prevention Breast cancer risk reduction for women with an average risk Breast self-exam Breast self-exam To perform a breast self-exam for breast awareness, use a methodical approach that ensures you cover your entire breast.
For instance, imagine that your breasts are divided into equal wedges, like pieces of a pie, and sweep your fingers along each piece in toward your nipple. Making changes in your daily life may help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Ask your doctor about breast cancer screening.
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Discuss with your doctor when to begin breast cancer screening exams and tests, such as clinical breast exams and mammograms. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of screening. Together, you can decide what breast cancer screening strategies are right for you. Become familiar with your breasts through breast self-exam for breast awareness. Women may choose to become familiar with their breasts by occasionally inspecting their breasts during a breast self-exam for breast awareness. If there is a new change, lumps or other unusual signs in your breasts, talk to your doctor promptly.
Breast awareness can't prevent breast cancer, but it may help you to better understand the normal changes that your breasts undergo and identify any unusual signs and symptoms. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day, if you choose to drink. Exercise most days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. If you haven't been active lately, ask your doctor whether it's OK and start slowly. Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy. Some women experience bothersome signs and symptoms during menopause and, for these women, the increased risk of breast cancer may be acceptable in order to relieve menopause signs and symptoms. To reduce the risk of breast cancer, use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time. Maintain a healthy weight. If your weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy strategies to accomplish this.
Reduce the number of calories you eat each day and slowly increase the amount of exercise. Choose a healthy diet.