Causes and Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

Causes and Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

As with most cancers, the underlying causes are not known. But we knows about some risk factors and the most important are:

  • Situations with hormonal imbalance or hormonal therapy,
  • High mammographic density,
  • Smoke,
  • A food composition, i.e. Fat diet,
  • Inheritance,
  • Alcohol consumption,
  • Overweight,
  • Low physical activity.

Even if and at what age women have children, has an influence on the development of breast cancer, as well as whether and how long the child was breastfed. The onset of menstruation and menopause, and thus the total number of menstrual periods are also factors that help to determine the risk of disease.

Especially on the Internet and  sometimes also in newspapers and magazines you can find gossip that breast cancer will also triggered by tight bras, deodorants, breast implants or abortions. However, these are “Cancer Myths” and these allegations are totally without scientific basis.

Female Hormones (Estrogen, Progesterone)

Specific cells are present in cell which we called receptor. There function is to bind different hormones like estrogens to itself.  So “messages” mediated by hormones, go into the cell. Among other things, is the growth of cells in the breast gland during puberty or pregnancy. Unfortunately estrogens via these receptors, can promote the formation and multiplication of some cancer cells. This also applies to synthetic hormones used in birth control pills or in preparations against menopausal symptoms (“HRT”).

The breast cancer risk increases slightly in women, if she takes “pill” for four or more years before they have a child and / or if they prevent an extended period in this way before the age of 20.

Hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of breast cancer if it is performed for more than five years, particularly in preparations which contain both estrogen and progestin. If the hormones are discontinued, the risk falls within a few years back to the average level.

Unhealthy Life style

Smoking is the most important preventable risk factor not only for lung cancer, but for many other types of cancer including breast cancer. Particularly when girls start smoking in their teen ages, her risk of breast cancer increases significantly.


Obese often get more breast cancer than lean women. Because in adipose tissue hormones are produced that raise estrogen levels. And the fat in food plays important role. Who eats a lot of animal fats (fatty meats, whole milk products, butter and  lard), also has a higher estrogen levels and thus a slightly higher risk. Thatsway the much lower incidence of breast cancer is reported in Asian countries where traditionally little animal fats are eaten. Due to the increasing adaptation of western habits the risk of breast cancer is also rises in Asia .

Density Of The Mammary Gland

Women with a high mammographic density that is, with less fat and more glandular and connective tissue have a five times higher risk of developing breast cancer. By comparison, women who have a first degree relatives suffering with breast cancer, have an approximately two-fold increased risk of cancer.

The density of the breast can be determined based on mammography images. Here, the dense connective and glandular tissue is well distinguished from the less dense fatty tissue and divided depending on the ratio in four different sealing levels:

– Density Grade I: fat transparent, well transparent,

– Density Grade II: moderately transparent,

– Density Grade III: dense,

– Density level IV: extremely dense.

Hereditary Breast Cancer

Approximately five to ten percent of breast cancers are hereditary. If heaped breast and ovarian cancer occur in a family, can bring clarity genetic counseling. To corroborated the suspicion of a hereditary predisposition, a genetic test must be taken into consideration. Breast cancer can be occur by changes (mutations) in the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene.  There are also other “breast cancer genes”. If you experience a suspicion of hereditary breast cancer, the idea of special consultation for familial breast cancer and ovarian cancer may be useful.