Breast cancer is considered to be the most common reason for the death of women. It forms in the tissue of the breast. Abnormal cells will take on abnormal growth patterns, resulting in tumors. Although breast cancer is found primarily in women, approximately one percent of those suffering from the disease are men. There may be many causes and factors related to breast cancer.
Age is a critical factor in breast cancer. Although the disease can strike at any stage in the life of a woman, the risk of developing it does increase with age. An average 30-year old woman will usually have a 1/280 chance of developing the condition within the next 10 years of her life. The probability then increases to a 1 in 70 chance as she reaches the ages of 40 to 50.
One of the main causes for breast cancer is considered to be high amounts of estrogen (female hormone, produced by the ovaries) in the body. High levels of estrogen can be found during the menstrual cycle and some time after it. Such levels of estrogen stimulate excessive cell growth (as much as four times higher) in the breast, uterus and ovaries of women.
The number of pregnancies plays a major role in reducing the risk of cancer, because it reduces the production of estrogen.
Another risk factor, affecting breast cancer is family history. The risk is at its maximum if a close relative developed breast cancer at a young age. This risk increases further if the relative is very close, for example a mother, aunt or sister. Recent studies have found that there may actually be a breast cancer gene that can be passed from mother to daughter.
While there may be no proven methods of preventing breast cancer entirely, there are ways to help stop the spread of the disease. Early detection is the single most important way to fight breast cancer, as it allows doctors to begin treatment immediately. Every woman must perform self-examinations as part of her regular routine. Annual checkups are crucial for all women, and those over 40 should have an annual mammogram.
All in all, it is essential that every woman be aware of the factors related to breast cancer and the importance of its treatment, early detection, and better yet, the protection from the disease.