Breast Cancer Causes

Facts About Breast Cancer Causes

  • Causes of breast cancer to be found in lifestyle, environment and heredity
  • First of all breast cancer occurs more frequently, the older you get, because the risk of cell damage increases with age

General conditions

Gender and age are the major causes of breast cancer. It is almost exclusively women who get breast cancer, only 1% of breast cancer patients are men. Breast cancer can occur at any age, but the disease is more frequent in older you get. The risk of developing breast cancer over a lifetime is 10%. This means that one in 10 women get breast cancer at some time during their lives.

80-90% of all cases of breast cancer occurs in the milk ducts, while 10-20% occurs in the glandular tissue.


Inheritance can be an important factor in breast cancer. If a first-degree relative – mother, sister or daughter – have had breast cancer, the risk is 3-4 times higher. If first-degree relatives were young when she became ill, giving it an even greater risk than if she had passed 50 (menopause). Young people who get breast cancer can have genetic mutations, called BRCA1 / BRCA2. If close relatives have this variant, it also contributes to an increased risk of getting breast cancer. There are also other genetic types, where they have not yet found the genetic change.

We recommend genetic testing in younger patients, patients with both breast and ovarian cancer patients with many first time relatives with breast cancer and in men. It is important that you talk with the doctors who treat breast cancer if you want an assessment of whether breast cancer can be a hereditary type. If, on this basis have shown BRCA1 or BRAC2, it is calculated that the risk of getting breast cancer is about 85% of one’s life. Women who have these genes also have an increased risk of ovarian cancer (ovarian). These women will therefore offer to participate in a control program, adjusted regularly checked for signs of incipient cancer of the breast or ovaries. The control program will usually involve annual survey.


The hormonal fluctuations that the body undergoes, can affect the development of cancer. Several hormonal factors increase the risk of breast cancer:

  • Women who have menstruation early and / or come late in menopause have a higher incidence of breast cancer. This means that the more times you have menstruated, the greater the risk of getting breast cancer.
  • To bear children before the age of 30 reduces the risk of breast cancer, while childlessness increases the risk. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer.
  • Using antikonceptionspiller (the pill) affects unlikely risk of developing breast cancer. Instead, it appears that hormone supplements, which is used to counteract the transition generation (tablets with estrogen and progesterone) can increase the risk of breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about this if you are unsure of what is best for you.

Diet and lifestyle

It seems that the risk of developing breast cancer is greater in countries where intake of animal fat in the diet is high. It has, among other things found that women living in Japan, have lower risk of developing breast cancer than women in the US (where the fat content of the food is higher). This difference disappears when Japanese women move to the US and change their diet to American conditions. However, there is considerable uncertainty associated with the studies that demonstrate this link between diet and cancer.

Obesity after menopause is a factor that appears to increase the risk of breast cancer.

Consumption of alcohol also increases the risk of breast cancer, while it seems that physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer.

Other environmental factors

Radiation from the body increases the risk of developing breast cancer over time – often many years after the initial radiation therapy. Among other things, women who as children received radiotherapy to the upper body as part of the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease (lymphoma), an increased risk of developing cancer.

Benign lumps in the breasts.

Most cases of lumps in the breasts in women due fibroadenomatose. Such changes may be accompanied by discomfort in the breasts – especially just before menstruation. These changes do not increase breast cancer risk. Still, one must be wary when we notice changes in their breasts. Contact your doctor to have assessed the breasts, although it is most likely that it concerns harmless finds.

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