Last week, we saw a gist on what is breast cancer and this week, we shall talk about the causes and risk factor for the same. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, then there are chances that you’ll likely have it too. There are a number of inherited mutated genes, which increase the likelihood of breast cancer. These genes have been identified as breast cancer gene 1 (BRCA1) and breast cancer gene 2 (BRCA2), which significantly increase the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.
Exposure to estrogen for a longer period of time increases the risk of breast cancer. When I say exposure to estrogens, it could be due to starting one’s periods at an early age or by entering menopause later. During the reproductive stage, our body is exposed to higher levels of estrogen. And, that’s the only reason why your doctor might have mentioned that breastfeeding is really important to reduce the chances of breast cancer, because pregnancy followed by breastfeeding reduces exposure to estrogen, and it again starts increasing once we stop the breastfeeding.
Obesity is another factor that increases the risk of getting the disease, so it’s better to control your weight in order to stay healthy and active. This one is particularly for those who pop OCPs to keep their menses in check. Birth control pills contain a high amount of estrogen and progestin, which regulates periods in a timely manner. Their over-consumption puts you at a risk.
People who are exposed to certain carcinogens (tobacco, asbestos, UV rays, alcohol, pollution etc) and endocrine disruptors (chemicals that hamper the function of the endocrine system), for a longer period are also likely to experience breast cancer/cancer/other health hazards. Age and activity too are really important when it comes to staying away from this disease.
As you get older, you should go for regular screenings to keep a check on your body’s activity. Activity is important to improve blood circulation and for detoxification — accumulated toxins lead to health issues. Emotional health too plays a vital role in keeping you away from the disease.