In the previous article, we talked about breast cancer and its types. Moreover, the article also touched upon the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. As a woman, I cannot stress the dangers of this disease enough. In our society, we often say that it happened because it was meant to be. She has breast cancer because that was her fate.
Unfortunately, this is just outright wrong. Fate does not play a role in breast cancer. It is precisely the kind of thinking which we must tackle, which is rampant in countries like Pakistan and elsewhere. With the advancement in health sciences, we can pinpoint the causes of breast cancer to two significant factors: 1) Genetic Risk Factors; 2) Environmental and Lifestyle Risk Factors.
Genetic Risk Factors
Certain risk factors cannot be changed. For example;
Most breast cancers are diagnosed after the age of 55, which means that age is a factor. Two out of three women who have invasive cancer are diagnosed after the age of 55.
Around 5% to 10% of breast cancers are attributed to genes. Genes are passed on from generation to generation, i.e. parent to child. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are a common cause of inherited breast cancer.
If someone’s menstrual periods start before the age of 12 or if their menstrual period stops right after 55 then such women are at a higher risk. Moreover, women who have never given birth are also at a higher risk of developing this cancer.
A woman is 100 times more likely to suffer from this form of cancer than a man.
Dense Breast Tissue
Having dense breast tissue increases the likelihood of suffering from breast cancer. Also, dense breast tissue can make detecting lumps quite tricky. Consult a doctor for more detailed information.
Environmental and Lifestyle Risk Factors
Some risk factors can be changed and avoided. Some of them are;
Not being physically active
If you are not physically active, you are at a higher risk of developing this cancer. Therefore, try to engage in physical activities as much as you can.
This cancer is quite common in women who are overweight and obese. You can control and avoid this factor by reducing your weight, staying active and eating clean.
A lot of people out there do not know that alcohol can cause breast cancer. The risk increases when a woman consumes high level of alcohol.
Just like alcohol, smoking too can increase the likelihood of suffering from cancer.
Radiation therapy on the chest before the age of 30 is another factor which increases the risk.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
It is also known as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) or postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT, PMHT). This therapy is used to treat various symptoms associated with female menopause. It increases the risk of developing this cancer.
This concludes my article and it shows that this disease has little to do with fate. Hence, there is a need to impart awareness among women about its causes. Once the women are fully aware, we may begin to witness early detection and reduced mortality rates.
In addition to this, screening and treatment facilities need to be made available at all levels across the country. Moreover, this must be treated as a health crisis. It will help to bring the topic under the limelight. More debate on it will help raise much needed awareness.