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Play Video about What Causes Breast cancer?


It makes sense to be curious about the causes of breast cancer if you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with the disease. However, the precise cause of breast cancer is still unknown.

Though we do know that the unchecked proliferation of healthy breast cells is the precursor to the development of breast cancer. Breast lobules or ducts are where breast cancers typically develop first. The glands that produce breast milk are called lobules. The milk travels through ducts from the lobules to the nipple. Some breast cancer cells can spread, or metastasis, to other body regions.

We are aware of several risk factors for breast cancer, for instance, lack of exercise, age, sex at birth, and family history of the disease. BRCA1 or BRCA2-related inherited genetic disorders account for just 10% of breast cancer diagnosis. Therefore, most incidences of breast cancer are caused by other factors.

Breast cancer risk factors

A person’s likelihood of developing breast cancer can increase due to several factors. The list that follows includes some risk factors for breast cancer that are under your control and some that are not.

Risk considerations that are unavoidable:

  1. Being female
  2. Growing old (risk increases after age 55)
  3. Family breast cancer history (Having Ashkenazi Jewish background)
  4. Previous chest radiation treatments
  5. Menopause at an older age
  6. Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES, a drug used in the 1940s through the early 1970s to lower risk of miscarriage)

Risk elements that can be managed include:

  1. Inadequate exercise
  2. Weight gain after menopause
  3. Consuming alcohol
  4. Use of specific types of hormone replacement therapy after menopause (if taken for more than 5 years)

Risk Mitigation

There are numerous techniques to lower risk, even if breast cancer cannot currently be completely prevented. These consist of:

  1. Kimit or avoid alcohol consumption
  2. Routinely exercise
  3. Reduction of the use of hormonal birth control and maintaining a healthy weight, especially during menopause
  4. Reducing the use of hormone replacement medication after menopause
  5. If you have children and can breastfeed them, you should do so, especially if you can do so for a whole year.
  6. Discussing breast cancer screening with your doctor, including the ideal age to begin

Drugs Used to Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

The chance of acquiring breast cancer can be reduced with the use of preventative medications. These medications consist of:

  • Tamoxifen, which inhibits estrogen in breast cells and reduces the risk of breast cancer.
  • Raloxifene, a drug that only permits usage in menopausal women and inhibits estrogen in breast cells,
  • Taking aromatase inhibitors causes women who have previously experienced menopause to have reduced estrogen levels.


Living Beyond Cancer Initiative:  What causes breast cancer Accessed January 5th, 2023.

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