What is Breast Cancer?
Breast Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. Cancer occurs as a result of abnormal changes, often referred to as “mutations”, in the genes responsible for maintaining the growth and health of the body’s cells. Over time, mutations in the genes of our cells can activate certain cell genes and deactivate others. That changed cell gains the ability to divide without control or order, producing more and more cells just like it and forming a tumor. Sometimes these tumors are benign or “non-cancerous”. Other times, these cells from tumors are considered malignant (“cancerous”). The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast.
What Causes Breast Cancer?
Despite our advancements in the detection and treatment of breast cancer, the exact causes of the disease are not fully known. Family history (having a biological relative who has been diagnosed with breast cancer) is considered a risk factor, as well as age (breast cancer risk increases as you get older). It’s important to discuss your family history with your physician, as well as your personal risk of developing breast cancer. Your Margaret West Comprehensive Breast Center provider can discuss these and other risk factors with you, as well as recommendations for activities associated with lowering your risk of developing breast cancer, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Eliminating smoking and/or tobacco use
- Avoiding menopausal hormones causing estrogen puls progestin