The breast is one of the vital organs of the body located on the frontiers of the pectoral muscles that shields the rib cage of the body. It is made up of lobule that supplies the milk ducts with milk that finally settle at the nipple. Its chief responsibility is to breastfeed newly born babies aside other quintessential roles it plays in the entire body. It is now a common phenomenon to hear that the breasts of the majority of women and some handful of men have developed cancers.
It is estimated that 16% of all cancers in females is attributed to breast cancer as well as 18.2% of all cancer deaths globally. The precise cause is unknown, while some recent research studies are unclear about the causes, though many researchers highly predict that the cause may issue from the multifarious relationship between the genetic structure and the environment of individuals. However, the formation of cancer in the breast is scientifically attributed to the development of a malignant tumour in either the lobules or milk ducts of the breasts.The lobular carcinoma which is cancer that develops in the lobules is not very popular in comparison to the much popular to cancer that develops in the milk ducts of the breasts called ductal carcinoma.
What then causes the formation of the tumour in the lobule or milk duct regions of the breast? This usually happens when the tumour suppressor genes of one’s DNA, which is responsible for regulating and slowing down the pace of cell division in the body becomes weak and malfunctions. This usually incites the DNA genes of a person to mutate at relatively faster rates, creating the oncogenes that cause breast cells to develop abnormally leading to their spontaneous divisions. The clusters of cells that metastasize, thus, moves speedily to the lymph nodes, then gather together forming the lumps, masses or tumours that are likely to cause breast cancer.
This situation is more evident in females who have a strong family history of breast cancer. Two main genes called BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 that are malfunctioned tumour suppressor genes causes the familial breast cancer and it is apparent in one out of two hundred women. It is estimated that 5% to 10% of all breast cancers are as a result of familial breast cancer history. Studies have revealed that women who have very close relatives, such as mothers, sisters or daughters suffering from breast cancer are two or three times more likely to develop breast cancers. However, it must be reckoned that this family record, is not a panacea for developing the disease since studies have revealed that some women with this family record never developed cancers throughout their lives. It is equally intriguing to know of females who have developed cancers but never had any familial breast cancer history. Probably, this has increased the blurring situation of researchers who are in search of its exact causes.
Yet, females with a high risk of the disease as a result of DNA gene mutations inherited from a family genealogy of breast cancer victims can be helped to mitigate the likelihood of its formation. First, having a blood test carried out would unearth the kind of genetic mutation or BRCA in the family breast cancer history. Consulting the services of a genetic counsellor is also worthwhile because s/he can provide substantial information on the type of genetic testing to carry out as well as its associated benefits, limitations and risks. In addition, there is some time-tested medicine such as anastrozole and tamoxifen 21 which when taken for a period of five years have been proven to either reduce or prevent potential familial breast cancer.
Aside from the hereditary factors, there are many other instances that may slightly or highly increase the risk factors and the likelihood of breast cancer contraction. It is said that women over fifty years are more likely to develop the disease. Also, women with a personal record of breast cancer may possibly develop additional cancers in the affected breast or the other breast if self-precautionary measures are not taken.
Women with either oestrogen or progesterone hormone are more susceptible to develop breast cancers. This is owing to the fact that those hormones instruct the breast cells, as it were, to divide and multiply spontaneously making them cancerous in the breast region. As such, there is a recent alertness of some personal care products such as shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, gels for shaving and other kinds that are produced with the addition of paraben chemicals which have oestrogen properties that can slightly increase the risk factor associated with the development of cancer. As a result, such products must be inspected for such ingredients in their makeup before they are purchased and used.
Another risk factor is related to the menstrual cyclical pattern of the woman. It is an evidence-proven fact that women who had their menstruation before the age of twelve, as well as those whose menstruation ceases known as menopause after the age of fifty-five as well as those who procreate after the age of thirty, are all likely to develop the disease. Obese women and women who take in diets with high fats are more susceptible to develop it. Studies have revealed that women who slash down the calories of fats in their diets to a range of 20% to 30% are more resilient to the formation of the disease.
In addition, high daily alcohol intake, smoking tobacco and short or intercepted periods of sleep increase the risk factor in the development of the disease. These practices reduce the melatonin level that monitors and regulates the creation and constant reproduction of cells, thus exposing the culprit to the likelihood of breast cancer.
Also, sterile women, as well as women who have had a post-menopausal therapy and have taken medications with oestrogen and progesterone, are also susceptible to develop the disease.
Knowing the risk factors, there is the need to maintain attitude or practices that are likely to reduce the risk factors that may potentially cause breast cancer. Heeding promptly to the advice of your health physician regarding one’s peculiar breast cancer case would immeasurably aid in preventing cancer. This would largely improve the health status as well as increase the life expectancy rate in especially women who contribute largely to the socio-economic development of the numerous nations around the globe.
by Dickson Adom