What causes breast cancer to develop?

Breast cancer begins in the cells which are the basic building blocks that make up tissue. Tissue is found in the breast and other parts of the body. Sometimes, the process of cell growth goes wrong and now cells form when the body does not need them and old or damaged cells do not die as they should. When this occurs, a buildup of cells often forms a mass of tissue called a lump, growth, or tumor.

  1. Damaged Cell

    The basic building blocks of all tissue and organs in the body are a healthy tissue. Other than that, when cell DNA is damages, mutated cells begin to rapidly reproduce without following the pre-wired plan. Aggressive cell growth can form a tumor that does not function as originally intended. Then, these abnormal cells or group of cells can progress into the disease known as breast cancer and can spread to other part of the body.

  2. Accelerated Growth

    Breast cancer is difficult to detect because cancer cell growth is often fueled by normally healthy chemicals of the body such as estrogen, progesterone and the HER2(a growth hormone). Healthy HER2 receptors are the protein that helps manage how a breast cell grows, divides and repairs itself. However, in about a quarter of all breast cancer patients, the HER2 gene isn’t functioning properly. It makes an excess number of copies of itself in a process known as “HER2 gene amplification. The ultimate result is that breast cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled fashion.

  3. The Lymph System

    The lymph system, which is part of the immune system, is a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes running throughout the entire body.When cancer are found in the nearby lymph nodes, it helps doctors identify just how far the cancer has spread.

Who get Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer or tumor is the number one killing disease for women. Women have a higher risk to get the breast tumor than men. Women’s breast development takes 3 to 4 years and is usually complete by age 14. Most of the male breast are fat and not formed glands. Women’s breast cells are very responsive to estrogen and other hormones including hormones disrupters in the environment. Men’s breast cells are inactive and most men have extremely low levels of estrogen. There are several risk factor of breast tumor:

• Gender

Breast cancers are more often in women than men.

• Age

Majority women with invasive cancer are diagnosed after age 55. More than 80% of breast cancer cases occur in women over 50, and there is a one in nine chance of having breast cancer if a woman lives to 85. At 40, however, her odds are one in 217, and at 50 they are one in 50. Cancer in women younger than 30  is very rare

• Race

Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in Caucasian women than women of other races.

• Family History and Genetics

The women have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer if having a mother, sister or father that has been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer. About 10% of all women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease. The mutations in genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 are now well-known culprits in some early-onset breast and ovarian cancers. About half of BRCA1 carriers have a chance of developing breast cancer by age 70, and according to one study, about 37% of BRCA2 carriers develop the disease. (These percentages may be higher in high-risk families.) BRCA2 and BRCA1 traits can be passed down to the daughter by either the mother or the father. Only about 0.1% of the population carries them. It should be further noted that a family history of breast cancer puts a woman at risk for the disease, even if these genetic mutations are not detected. A defective BRCA gene also sometimes appears in non inherited breast and ovarian cancer patients. Cancer may even develop if the normal BRCA1 gene (which is protective) is either under expressed or, in some cases, appears to "hide" outside the nucleus of the cell, where it is ineffective.

Researchers have also identified other defective genes that cause breast cancer, including BRCA3, p53, and NOEY2 (which is inherited from the father). A mutant gene for the rare disorder ataxia-telangiectasia may account for many breast cancers. (The disease itself is rare, requiring two copies of the gene, but 1% of the population carries a single copy, which is enough to increase the risk for breast cancer.) Women who have this gene are also more likely to be harmed by radiation, including that from mammography.

• Menstrual and reproductive

Early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after 55) is increased the risk for breast cancer. Because breast tissue is highly sensitive to estrogens, the longer a women is exposed to estrogen over her lifetime, the higher the risk for breast cancer. In fact, one study reported that blood tests measuring high levels of estrogen and testosterone may eventually identify older women at increased risk for breast cancer.

Pregnancy and Abortion. Pregnancy plays an odd dual role in breast cancer. It appears to increase the risk for up to 15 years following the first birth, particularly in older women, but after that women who have given birth have a lower risk than those who have not. Subsequent births do not seem to have any additional impact. Studies have detected an increased risk for breast cancer in women who have had abortions, possibly because high estrogen levels occur in the first trimester when abortions are most often performed (estrogen levels tend not to be high when a natural miscarriage occurs). The increased risk from abortion is most likely to be very small, however.

Women who taking the hormone replacement therapy increased the risk of breast cancer. Usually breast cancer that occur in women taking hormone replacement therapy also tend to be smaller and less aggressive than most. Some experts argue, however, that the risk of breast cancer from HRT may be underestimated, because until recently women who took HRT tended to be at risk for osteoporosis or heart disease and so were likely to have low estrogen levels.

• Dense Breast Tissue

Having dense breast tissue can increase the risk for breast cancer and make lumps harder to detect.

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