10 Jan 2023


Cancer Development: Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention

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In order to gain a complete understanding of breast cancer we need to look carefully at potential risk factors for developing breast cancer. From examining Kemeny’s and Dranov’s (1992) article, there is evidence that the risk of breast cancer increases with age. It has to be emphasized that the risk of breast cancer in young women is weak and reach less than 10% of all breast cancer develops before the age of 30 (Kemeny & Dranov, 1992). Moreover, it has to be mentioned that, the rate begins to steadily increase through the thirties and forties, doubling every five years between 30 and 45 and then move gradually by 10-15% every five years subsequently (Kemeny & Dranov, 1992). 

There is a growing awareness that one of the major factors related to the risk of developing breast cancer is family history (Winchester & Winchester, 2006). There is also evidence that approximately 5 to 10% of breast cancers arise due to inherited genetic mutations (Winchester & Winchester, 2006). 

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The results of published studies strongly show an association between ovarian hormones and the risk of breast cancer. On the whole, analyzing the data present in Winchester’s (2006) paper it is found that prolonged estrogen exposure, such as early menarche, late menopause, nulliparity, and late age at first pregnancy are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. In recent years, it has become apparent that the exogenous use of hormones was associated with a small increased risk of breast cancer (Winchester & Winchester, 2006). In accordance with Winchester’s (2006) article, it can be suggested that the risk for breast cancer increased significantly with increasing concentrations of all sex hormones examined. 

When looking at risk factors of breast cancer it is crucial to note that women with a history of prior breast biopsy for benign breast disease have an increased risk of proliferative breast cancer (Hunt, 2008). 

Quite as evident from Hunt’s (2008) paper, that the greatest risk of breast cancer is observed in humans treated with radiation therapy before age 15. Equally important the fact that according to Hunt (2008) the risk of developing breast cancer in such persons increases up to 35% by age 40. 

Also worthy of mention is the fact that according to Hunt (2008) personal history of malignancy such as ovarian, endometrial, or colorectal cancer increases the risk of development breast cancer twice. 

Furthermore, it has to be stated that such lifestyle factor as alcohol consumption increases breast cancer risk by decreasing the metabolic clearance of estrogen or by increasing the secretion of estrogen (Hunt, 2008) . The results of studies examining whether modification of lifestyle factors can reduce breast cancer risk indicate that lifestyle modifications can lead to better health and recommended for all risk levels (Hunt, 2008) . Additionally, it has to be noted, that these modifications include intake low-fat diet, limiting alcohol intake, avoiding smoking, exercising, and maintaining normal body weight (Hunt, 2008). Also worthy of mention is the fact that with respect to numerous studies the risk of development breast cancer in women who were most physically active, decreased by 30 - 40%. (Winchester & Winchester, 2006). 

With respect to study results, it can be suggested that with increasing of the duration of breastfeeding, the risk of developing breast cancer decreases. In this context, there is also evidence that the protective effect of breastfeeding includes the reduction of estrogen synthesis in association to the suppression of ovulatory cycles and increased secretion of prolactin (Winchester & Winchester, 2006). 

We have clearly identified above the main risk factors of developing breast cancer. What is more important at this stage is to investigate the anatomical structure of the breasts. According to LeMura’s and Von Duvillard’s (2004) work, the breasts are composed of sections or lobes. Each lobe contains many lobules - glands that make milk, which are connected to the nipple by ducts. Fatty, connective, and lymphatic tissue surrounds the lobules and ducts. The lymphatic vessels in the breast lead to lymph nodes under the arm called axillary nodes (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004). 

In further support of examining of breast cancer, we also need to look at mechanism of development of breast cancer. With respect to LeMura’s and Von Duvillard’s (2004) article, the cancer is characterized by an uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. Moreover, it has to be stated that the breast cancer can start in the ducts or lobules. 

While researching texts written about cancer development in human body it has to be considered that all cancers develop as the result of cells that become uncontrollable and they all begin in the same way in the body's basic building block of life the cell (Ogden, 2004). Moreover, Ogden (2004) stipulate that the body has a great many of cells of various types which are grouped together to form tissues and organs. In this context, there is also evidence that normal cells grow in a controlled way and are constantly dividing to repair damaged tissues, in order to replace old cells and for tissues to grow (Ogden, 2004). In view of all above, it can be concluded that this process helps to keep human body healthy. However, it is evident that normal cells only divide or reproduce when there is a need. Quite as evident from Ogden ’s (2004) paper that cells in tissues such as the skin or blood, are constantly wearing out and replaced by new cells. In other words, when a person accidentally injured, the cells around the injury will multiply in order to substitute the damaged tissue, but once they have repaired they stop reproduction process (Ogden, 2004). Nevertheless, occasionally, the control system goes wrong, the reproduction process fails, and the cells become abnormal (Ogden, 2004). Correspondingly, instead of stopping, the abnormal cells just keep on dividing until a tumor forms (Ogden, 2004). Ogden suggest that it is thought that most invasive breast cancers have been present from 6 to 10 years before they are picked up by a mammogram or felt as a tumor. The Ogden’s article demonstrates also that malignant tumours, though, are made up of cancer cells that look abnormal and are not like the cells from which they developed. I t is important to take into account the fact that the more abnormal cells look, the more aggressively cancer grows. Meanwhile malignant tumours continue growing into surrounding areas and can spread to other parts of the body (Ogden, 2004). It is this ability to damage and destroy surrounding tissues and to travel to other organs, where they grow as metastatic tumors, which makes cancerous cells so dangerous (Ogden, 2004). All things considered we can affirm that b reast cancer can be found in a precancerous state (which might go on to develop into invasive cancer if it is not treated), as a cancer which has not yet spread, or after it has spread to other organs (Ogden, 2004). What is more important is that tumor can grow very fast or very slowly or in between (Ogden, 2004). 

We have clearly established above the pathological processes that occurs in human body when the normal body cells reproduction mechanisms impaired. Further, we will review the stages of breast cancer. Analyzing the data present in LeMura’s and Von Duvillard ’s (2004) research paper, we can suggest that most types of tumors that form in the breast are benign, but other tumors are cancerous. In this context, it has to be stated that cancer tumors that have not spread beyond the area where they began are defined with the term in situ (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . Moreover, it has to be considered that breast cancer is staged from 0 to IV based on how far the cancer has spread (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . According to LeMura and Von Duvillard (2004), the stages determine the treatment and outlook for recovery. Stages I and II are early stages of breast cancer in which the cancer has spread beyond the lobe or duct and invaded nearby tissue (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . According to LeMura’s and Von Duvillard ’s (2004) work, stage I means that the tumor is no larger than 2 cm in diameter and cancer cells have not spread beyond the breast. Consequently, stage II characterized that the tumor in the breast is less than 2 cm in diameter and the cancer have spread to the axillary lymph nodes (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . In spite of that, stage II can also means that the tumor is between 2 and 5 cm in diameter, with or without spread to the axillary lymph nodes (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . At the same time, on stage II, the tumor also could be larger than 5 cm but without spreading into the axillary lymph nodes (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . Stage III often called locally advanced cancer. Regarding the relevant articles, i.e., LeMura and Von Duvillard (2004) , it has to be emphasized that in stage III tumor in the breast is more than 5 cm in diameter and the cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or the cancer has spread to other lymph nodes or other tissues near the breast. Finally, stage IV indicates the cancer has metastasized to other organs of the body (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . Moreover, it has to be mentioned that recurrent cancer refers to cancer that has come back in spite of the initial treatment (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . Despite the fact that a tumor in the breast seems to have been destroyed, the disease could reoccur by the reason the undetected cancer cells remained in the body after treatment (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004) . There is also evidence that most recurrences appear within the first 2 or 3 years after treatment, but breast cancer may reoccur many years later (LeMura & Von Duvillard, 2004). 

After critical examination of the various literature sources and evaluation of the relevant scientific data, it can be concluded that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. Weighing up the evidence, it can be suggested that there are a number of established and potential risk factors for breast cancer such as age, family history of breast cancer, hormonal factors, proliferative breast disease, irradiation of the breast region at an early age, personal history of malignancy, and lifestyle factors. Based on above-mentioned analysis of the development processes of breast cancer and scientific data shown above, it was discovered that breast cancer develop as the result of formation of abnormal cells, which start uncontrolled reproduction until a tumor forms. Analyzing the data present in numerous research papers, it can be summarized that that breast cancer has for stages from 0 to IV depending on how far the cancer has spread and size of the tumor. 


Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F (2013). GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC Cancer Base No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer. Available from http://globocan.iarc.fr. 

Hunt, K. (2008). Breast cancer . New York: Springer. 

Kemeny, M., & Dranov, P. (1992). Breast cancer and ovarian cancer . Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. 

LeMura, L., & Von Duvillard, S. (2004). Clinical exercise physiology . Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 

Ogden, J. (2004). Understanding breast cancer . Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley. 

Winchester, D., & Winchester, D. (2006). Breast cancer . Hamilton: B.C. Decker. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Cancer Development: Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention .


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