Breast Cancer Awareness: The Non-modifiable Risk Factors

Breast Cancer Awareness: The Non-modifiable Risk Factors


We know by now that we need to eat the right foods, need to work out, and do stuff that is healthy for us. Because maintaining good health does not happen by accident, it requires work and smart lifestyle choices. But sometimes when we wake up at 6 am to hit the gym before work or shunning the donuts in breakfast, it’s easy to lose sight of for what are we doing all these. So here are some top articles choices that can keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

Breast Cancer Awareness: The Non-modifiable Risk Factors

, Breast Cancer Awareness: The Non-modifiable Risk FactorsThe month October is the breast cancer awareness month (annual international breast cancer awareness campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to raise funds and increase awareness). I thought it prudent to write something about breast cancer and make people aware of the risks of breast cancer, so that they can take some steps in reducing and preventing breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among females. Breast cancer can also occur among males, albeit less frequently and rarely in compare to females.

Good news about breast cancer is that the survival rate is very good in breast cancer patients, although it can not be cured. In respect to survival/cure, breast cancer can be placed next only to skin cancer, where it is possible to cure if diagnosed and treated at the initial stage, especially squamous cell skin cancer, where metastasis (spread to other distant organs from its primary site) is rare.

What are the non-modifiable risk factors of breast cancer?

There are several risk factors of breast cancer which can not be modified such as gender, genetics and family history, age, race, personal history, some breast conditions, menstrual periods, history of chest radiation etc.

Gender:

Being a woman is one of the most important risk factor of breast cancer. Breast tissues of women are exposed continuously to female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which is one of the leading factors for causation of cancer in female breast. Men can get breast cancer, but the risk is 100 times less than women.

Genetics and family history:

It is estimated that 5-10% of breast cancers are due to heredity and genetic defect inherited from parents.

Breast cancer can run in families and the risk is higher if any first degree relative has history of breast cancer. For example the risk is double the usual risk if one first degree relative (i.e. mother, sister, daughter) have breast cancer. The risk if three fold if two first degree relatives have breast cancer history. History of breast cancer in father side of family also has higher than usual risk in developing breast cancer.

Age:

Increasing age in females is a risk factor for breast cancer. As age increase the risk of invasive breast cancer also increases and more than two third invasive breast cancer cases are found in women older than 55 years.

Race:

Whites have slightly higher risk of breast cancer than blacks, but blacks have higher risk of dying from breast cancer, than whites. Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans have lower risk of breast cancer.

Certain breast conditions:

Women with certain breast conditions are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Some of these breast conditions, which are generally benign, have low risk while others have high risk of developing breast cancer.

High risk (of developing breast cancer) breast conditions:

  • Atypical ductal hyperplasia
  • Atypical lobular hyperplasia.

Medium risk breast conditions:

  • Scar
  • Ductal hyperplasia, but not atypical
  • Fibroadenoma (comples)
  • Papillomatosis (multiple papillomas).

Very low risk (of developing breast cancer) breast conditions:

  • Mastitis (infection of breast tissue)
  • Fibroadenoma (simple)
  • Mild hyperplasia of breast issue
  • Single papilloma
  • Benign breast tumors such as lipoma, neurofibroma, hemangioma etc.
  • Cyst or fibrosis of breast.

Menstruation:

Women with early menarche (starting of menstruation) and late menopause have slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer, may be due to increased period of exposure to female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

History of chest radiation:

If a woman as a child or at young age, has history of chest radiation for radiotherapy of other medical conditions such as NHL (Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) or Hodgkin’s disease have higher risk of developing breast cancer. Radiation exposure after age of 40 seems to have no effect on breast cancer risk.

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