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Get to know Breast Cancer

Dr. Shalini Kapoor Kad
Feb. 17, 2011

A homoeopathic paediatrician, a counselling expert and a freelance writer are a few words to describe my profession. My sole aim is to put forth practical piece of information that guides every one right in the direction, blending the medicos to a layman with a simple gesture to make the medical things a little less convoluted and comprehendible.



What is breast cancer? Well, the answer is really simple in medical terms; it is a growth of cancerous cells in the tissues of the breast but those who have it can well imagine the difficulty with this simple term. Out of every 8 women, 1 is diagnosed with breast cancer. This is one of the most common types of cancer that women suffer from after cervical cancer. This type of cancer can leave a deep mark on the women who suffer from it, both in the physical as well as psychological sense.

Types of Breast cancer

Mainly, there are two types of breast cancer.

  • Ductal carcinoma: this is where the milk carrying ducts are affected
  • Lobular carcinoma: The milk producing ducts are affected in such a case

Normally, the hormone estrogen which is a very prominent female hormone leads to the growth of cancerous cells in the breast. Hence, these types of cancers are also known as “estrogen receptor-positive cancer” or “ER-positive cancer”.

Causes and risk factors

Doctors are not sure what exactly causes the simple tissues in the breast to turn cancerous but here are a few possible factors that if present in your case should go for a mammography on regular basis.

  • Age and gender – If your age is over 50 then your chances of developing breast cancer increases manifold.
  • Positive family history of breast cancer – You are also more prone to suffer the type if anyone in your family had suffered from it. Even if any of your female relative has ever suffered from any kind of cancer, be it even ovarian or cervical cancer then your chances increases to get breast cancer.
  • Genetics – Women with gene defects like the presence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are more prone to the cancer of breast.
  • Menstrual cycle – Women who have had their first menstruation before the age of 12 or even women who attain menopause at a very late age than usual also run a very high risk of developing breast cancer than those normal women.
  • Use of Alcohol – Consumption of more than 1 - 2 glasses of alcohol on a daily basis is considered to be one of the potential causes of developing breast cancer.
  • Childbirth – Women who are unable to conceive children or had children in their later 30s are more prone to contracting the cancer of the breast. On the contrary, women who have been pregnant more number of times are at a lower risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – HRT is often taken by women to lessen the symptoms of menopause. Though these bring on ease but surface a higher risk of developing breast cancer later.
  • Obesity – Getting obese is not good for health. In fact, there are studies which link obesity to breast cancer. Alternatively, there are studies which have proved otherwise. Hence, there is no established link between the two.
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