Breast Cancer

One of the rampant and serious diseases that plague most of the women’s population is breast cancer. It makes up a quarter of all recorded cancers. . In 1991, 175,000 expected cases diagnosed in US rose to 175,000 (Franz 193). Studies also show that each year, there are 45,000 women who die because of breast cancer. The mortality rate caused by breast cancer is very alarming and yet most women are still on the verge of getting the disease.

Normally, cells reproduce in an orderly an organized manner in order to grow and repair the tissues that may have been destroyed in the body. However, cases of uncontrolled and undetected growth may end up as tumor (Baum ; Schipper 71). Tumors can be benign and malignant. It is benign when the tumors do not spread and do not threaten some parts of the body. Otherwise, it is malignant. Malignant tumors are dangerous as the tumor may develop into a cancer, like breast cancer. Breast cancer, as defined, is the malignant growth within the tissues of the breast (Cadwell ; Maffei 105). Other defines it as a disease characterized by fear of pain, disfigurement, and death itself (Franz 193).

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There are several factors that influence an individual’s chance of getting breast cancer. Generally, these factors can be obtained from the environment, from one’s own personal behavior and is even inherent in the human being. Though some factors present in one’s body do not conclusively mean to develop in a breast cancer.

The established risk factors of breast cancer are gender, age, reproductive history, family history, and gene (Franz 193). These factors can not be changed and is inherent in the woman.


Being a woman alone puts an individual at risk to cancer of the breast. This is due to the constant exposure of the breast cells of women to the growth- promoting effects of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone (American Cancer Society, n. pag.). The development of breast cancer among men is only a slim probability as compared to women.


As the woman gets older, the risk of getting breast cancer rises. Studies showed that among the diagnosed women with invasive breast cancer, 1 out of 8 is younger than 45, while 2 out of 3 are age 55 or older (American Cancer Society, n. pag.). Studies also show that the highest rates seen were after menopause (Franz 193).

Reproductive History

It has been established that childbearing helps protect woman from breast cancer and women who never bear a child are exposed to risk of developing breast cancer than women who bear at least one child (Franz 193). Breastfeeding has also been established to help woman reduce the possibility of breast cancer.


Most cases of breast cancer have inherited their disease from their parents as a result of mutation or changes in genes. The most inherited mutations are those of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (American Cancer Society, n. pag.). BRCA1 are gene on chromosome 17 while BRCA2 are gene on chromosome 13 (National Cancer Institute, n. pag.). Both genes normally helps to suppress the growth of cells (National Cancer Institute, n. pag.). If these genes are inherited, it puts the woman to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Other genes that helps repair damaged DNA is the ATM but mutations of such gene can increase the peril of developing breast cancer (American Cancer Society, n. pag.). In addition, CHECK2, p53, and PTEN, which are useful genes but increases the risk of getting breast cancer when mutated.

Family History

Women who have a first- degree relative who had breast cancer doubles their chances to breast cancer, and having two first- degree relatives increases their risk to five- fold (American Cancer Society, n. pag). According to studies, about 30% of cases have breast cancer experiences in their family.

There are suspected factors which influenced the development of breast cancer. They are called to be suspected because further studies are needed to justify their role in breast cancer. These factors include oral contraceptive use, obesity, and diet (Franz, 193).

Oral Contraceptive

According to studies, there is slightly greater risk of breast cancer among women who uses oral contraceptives and the risk declines once the use is stopped (American Cancer Society, n. pag.).


Among the cases of breast cancer, the higher rates were seen among obese women. In addition, the rate rises among women who had undergone menopausal stage. This is because the estrogen comes mostly from fat tissues as the ovaries stops producing estrogen after menopause. When there are more fat tissues, there will also an increase in estrogen level (American Cancer Society, n. pag.). The increase in estrogen level will expose the woman in breast cancer.


For the past ten years, dietary factors such as fat, fiber, and protein intake and the combination of these nutrients were associated with breast cancer (Franz, 193). Researchers also believed link high- fat diet to breast cancer (Franz, 193). However, the specific type of fat that increased the risk has not yet determined.