The most common invasive cancer in women is breast cancer, and the second leading cause of death from cancer in women after lung cancer. Cancer is a general term for a class of diseases characterized by abnormal cells that expand and invade healthy cells within the body. Breast cancer begins as a group of cancer cells in the cells of the breast that can then invade surrounding tissues or spread to other body areas.

Now an important question regarding this is, what causes Breast Cancer?
There is no complete understanding of the causes of breast cancer, making it impossible to determine why one woman may develop breast cancer and another does not. There are risk factors known to affect your probability of developing breast cancer, however, you can’t do anything about some of them, but there are some that you can change.

  • Family History: You could have a higher chance of getting breast cancer if you have close relatives who have had breast cancer or ovarian cancer. However, since breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, it is possible to occur by chance in more than one member of the family. The majority of breast cancer cases do not occur in families, but genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 may increase the risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. It’s possible to pass on these genes from a parent to their child.
  • Previous lump on breast or cancer: You have a greater chance of developing it again, either in the other breast or in the same breast if you have already had breast cancer or early non-invasive cancer cell changes in breast ducts. A benign breast lump does not mean that you have breast cancer, but the risk of developing cancer may be significantly increased by some kinds of breast lumps.
  • Age: With age, the risk of developing breast cancer increases. In women over the age of 50 who have gone through menopause, the condition is most common. About 8 out of 10 breast cancer cases occur in women over 50. All women who are 50 to 70 years old should be screened every 3 years for breast cancer.
  • Dense Breast Tissue: Thousands of tiny glands (lobules) that contain milk make up your breasts. There is a higher concentration of breast cells in this glandular tissue than other breast tissue, rendering it denser. As there are more cells that can become cancerous, women with dense breast tissue may have a higher chance of developing breast cancer. Dense breast tissue, as any lumps or areas of irregular tissue are more difficult to see, can also make a breast scan (mammogram) difficult to read.
  • Exposure to oestrogen: Often, the female hormone oestrogen can stimulate and trigger breast cancer cells to develop. When you begin puberty, the ovaries, where your eggs are processed, start releasing oestrogen to control your cycles. With the amount of oestrogen your body is exposed to, the risk of developing breast cancer will increase slightly.
  • Exposure to radiation: Your risk of developing breast cancer can be marginally increased by some medical procedures using radiation, such as X-rays and CT scans.
  • Alcohol: The risk of having breast cancer is raised by drinking alcohol. People who regularly drink even small amounts of alcohol have a higher risk of breast cancer than people who don’t drink alcohol at all. The more alcohol you drink, the more you raise your risk of breast cancer.

Kritika is a freelance writer with