Breast Cancer - Causes

Researchers do not know how normal cells suddenly become cancerous. Thus, the fundamental cause or causes of breast cancer are still a puzzle. Scientists do know that certain risk factors are related to the development of breast cancer. These factors include:

  • Family history of breast cancer occurring in mother or sister.
  • Early onset (beginning) of menstruation and late menopause. Menopause is the end of menstruation.
  • Reproductive history. Women who have no children or have children late in life have increased risk. Women who have never breast-fed also have increased risk.
  • History of abnormal breast biopsies. A biopsy is a medical procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed for study under a microscope.

The acknowledged risk factors are of limited value, however. More than 70 percent of women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors.

Not harmful or cancerous.
A medical procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed so that it can be studied under a microscope.
A procedure in which the cancerous lump is removed from the breast.
An X-ray photograph of the breast.
Surgical removal of a breast.
The end of menstruation.
The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.
Radical mastectomy:
Surgical removal of an entire breast along with the chest muscles around the breast and all the lymph nodes under the arm.
Reconstructive surgery:
A medical procedure in which an artificial breast is created to replace the breast removed during a mastectomy.
Systemic treatment:
A form of treatment that affects the whole body.
A naturally occurring substance that has shown promise in preventing the return of breast cancer.

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