Breast Cancer Doesn’t Run in the Family. Am I Still at Risk?

Breast Cancer Doesn’t Run in the Family. Am I Still at Risk?

Not all breast cancer runs in the family. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Most cases of breast cancer are not caused by inherited genetic factors. These cancers are associated with somatic mutations in breast cells that are acquired during a person’s lifetime, and they do not cluster in families.”

But if that’s the case, the question is which other factors end up making one prone to breast cancer.

Non-Genetic Causes of Breast Cancer

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there is no better time to discuss some of the less-talked-about causes of breast cancer.

Old Age

The risk of breast cancer largely depends on the age factor. An American Cancer Society (ACS) study reveals that most breast cancers are diagnosed in women over the age of 50. Therefore, keep your habits healthy; eat well, sleep well, and exercise regularly.

Early Menstruation and Late Menopause

Early menstrual periods, i.e., before the age of 12 and late menopause, i.e., after 55, expose women to oestrogen and progesterone hormones that control breast development. Prolonged exposure to these hormones can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Dense Breasts

This is something your doctor will confirm for you, but dense are breasts with a higher proportion of glandular breast tissue as compared to fatty tissue. This becomes a problem primarily because they make it hard for tumours to be visible on a mammogram. Whereas, against cancer, early detection is a big help.

Exposure to Radiation Therapy

Women exposed to radiation therapy, especially in the chest area before the age of 30, may develop breast cancer later on.

A British Journal of Cancer (BJC) research highlights that prolonged exposure to ionising radiation at a young age can increase the risk of breast cancer among women. However, radiation in small amounts during a mammogram is nothing to worry about.

Personal History of Breast Cancer

A fight with breast cancer is a continuous one. As hard as it is, if you have fought it and won, you must not cease getting yourself regularly examined, as cancer has a great chance of returning.

Non-cancerous diseases like hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma, too, can lead to breast cancer. Therefore, if you have had them, stay heightened.

As a rule of thumb, follow healthy practices in life to avoid getting breast cancer. That means no tobacco, eating healthy, exercising regularly, doing breast self-exam at least once every month, and visiting your doctor immediately upon encountering an anomaly.

For healthcare assistance at home, give Annie’s Place a call.