The Risks of Breast

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The Risks of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer (malignant breast neoplasm) is a type of cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas. Breast cancer is a disease of humans and other mammals; while the overwhelming majority of cases in humans are women, men can sometimes also develop breast cancer.
The Risks of Breast
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, being responsible for almost 20 percent of all cancer deaths in women. It ranks second after lung cancer. Roughly 180,000 women are diagnosed with this disease each year, of which 44,000 will die. With increased awareness and increased use of routine mammograms, more women are diagnosed in the earlier stages of this disease, at which time a cure may be possible. For every 100 women, one man is diagnosed with this disease. The disease is more common in women after age 40. It is also more frequent in women of a higher social-economic class.


The Risks of Breast-Risk factors

    Risk factors you cannot change
        Age
        The chance of getting breast cancer goes up as a woman gets older. About 2 of 3 women with invasive breast cancer are 55 or older when the cancer is found.


        Breast radiation early in life
        Women who have had radiation treatment to the chest area (as treatment for another cancer) earlier in life have a greatly increased risk of breast cancer. The risk varies with the patient's age when they had radiation. The risk from chest radiation is highest if the radiation were given during the teens, when the breasts were still developing. Radiation treatment after age 40 does not seem to increase breast cancer risk.
        Certain benign (not cancer) breast problems
        Women who have certain benign breast changes may have an increased risk of breast cancer. Some of these are more closely linked to breast cancer risk than others.
        Dense breast tissue
        Dense breast tissue means there is more gland tissue and less fatty tissue. Women with denser breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer. Dense breast tissue can also make it harder for doctors to spot problems on mammograms.
        Family history
        Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease. The relatives can be from either the mother's or father's side of the family. Having a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer about doubles a woman's risk. It's important to note that most (over 85%) women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease.
        Gender
        Being a woman is the main risk for breast cancer. While men also get the disease, it is about 100 times more common in women than in men.
        Genetic risk factors
        About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be linked to inherited changes (mutations) in certain genes. The most common gene changes are those of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Women with these gene changes have up to an 80% chance of getting breast cancer during their lifetimes. Other gene changes may raise breast cancer risk, too.
        Lobular carcinoma in situ
        This begins in the milk- making glands (lobules) but does not go through the wall of the lobules and cannot spread to other parts of the body. It is not a true cancer or pre-cancer, but having LCIS increases a woman's risk of getting cancer later. For this reason, it's important that women with LCIS make sure they have regular mammograms and doctor visits. Women with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) have a 7 to 11 times greater risk of developing cancer in either breast.
        Menstrual periods
        Women who began having periods early (before age 12) or who went through the change of life (menopause) after the age of 55 have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. The increase in risk may be due to a longer lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
        Personal history of breast cancer
        A woman with cancer in one breast has a greater chance of getting a new cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast. This is different from a return of the first cancer (called recurrence).
        Race
        Overall, white women are slightly more likely to get breast cancer than African-American women. But in women under 45 years of age, breast cancer is more common in African American women. African American women, though, are more likely to die of breast cancer. Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women have a lower risk of getting and dying from breast cancer.
        Treatment with DES
        In the past, some pregnant women were given the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) because it was thought to lower their chances of losing the baby (miscarriage). Studies have shown that these women and the children exposed in the womb have a slightly increased risk of getting breast cancer.
    Breast cancer risk and lifestyle choices
        Recent use of birth control pills
        Studies have found that women who are using birth control pills have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. This risk seems to go back to normal over time once the pills are stopped. Women who stopped using the pill more than 10 years ago do not seem to have any increased risk. It's a good idea to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of birth control pills.

        Using hormone therapy after menopause
        Post- menopausal hormone therapy (PHT) has been used for many years to help relieve symptoms of menopause and to help prevent thinning of the bones (osteoporosis). This treatment goes by other names, such hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and menopausal hormone therapy (MHT).
        Not having children or having them later in lifeThe Risks of Breast
        Women who have had not had children, or who had their first child after age 30, have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. Being pregnant many times and at an early age reduces breast cancer risk. Being pregnant lowers a woman's total number of lifetime menstrual cycles, which may be the reason for this effect.

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