Beyond the Pink Ribbon: Understanding the Causes of Breast Cancer

Mar 30, 2023
Beyond the Pink Ribbon: Understanding the Causes of Breast Cancer
Hello, Warriors! Welcome to The Breast Place blog and thank you for taking time out of your active schedule to visit! We appreciate our readers to the utmost degree, as we do our patients.

Hello, Warriors! Welcome to The Breast Place blog and thank you for taking time out of your active schedule to visit! We appreciate our readers to the utmost degree, as we do our patients. If this is your first visit to The Breast Place blog, we welcome you. We cover a range of topics here. From breast cancer management to anti-aging skin treatments to helpful tips for maximizing your overall health and wellness—The Breast Place is committed to sharing the best health practices and treatment options with you! Our offices are open and our staff is prepared to answer any questions you may have about your health, your breast cancer risk, and how to reach your aesthetic goals. 

At The Breast Place, we offer several oncoplastic surgical procedures, such as natural reconstruction, nipple-sparing mastectomy, Hidden Scar™, and implant removals. Oncoplastic surgery is distinct from both breast cancer surgery and plastic surgery–though you initially assume oncoplastic surgery to be a mixture of both. Rather, the aim of oncoplastic breast surgery is “to achieve good aesthetic outcomes for women with breast cancers who would have unacceptable outcomes with other BCS techniques, and in addition, enable breast-conserving surgery for larger breast cancers.” While breast cancer surgery prioritizes the eradication of cancerous tissue and plastic surgery prioritizes the cosmetic appearance of the breasts, oncoplastic surgery takes both of these aspects into account when planning for the final outcome. You can find out more information about what to look for in an Oncoplastic surgeon here. 

In our last post, we discussed breast density and why it matters. Breast density refers to the amount of fibroglandular tissue in a woman’s breast compared with the amount of fatty tissue, as seen on a mammogram. Dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer. If you are interested in learning more about breast density, we encourage you to check out our last post!

Before we get into today’s topic, we’d like to make you aware of what we have to offer at The Breast Place this upcoming month. We have officially entered Spring and April is right around the corner, which means new specials are on the way! For the month of April, we are offering Botox and Xeomin for just $10 per unit, as well as 20% off Grande Lash products! We are so excited to share these upcoming specials with you. Treat yourself this Spring by taking advantage of these great deals!

Today, we’ll be discussing breast cancer and what causes it. Here at The Breast Place, we are all about breast health and educating others on the topic. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, besides skin cancers. With that being said, we know that many women have questions and concerns about breast cancer, so we are here to talk in-depth about the causes of breast cancer. So, if you are interested in learning more about breast cancer and some of its potential causes, you are in the right place. Let’s get started.

Breast Cancer 101: Understanding the Basics

We’ve all heard about breast cancer, but what exactly is it? Breast cancer is a disease caused by uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in the tissues of the breast. It can start in one or both breasts. While breast cancer most commonly affects women, it can also occur in men. Breast cancer can start in virtually any part of the breast. To understand this, let’s first take a look at the anatomy of the breast. 

  • Each breast has 15 to 20 sections, known as lobes. Each lobe has smaller structures called lobules, which are the glands that make breast milk. 
  • There are small canals that come out of lobules and carry the milk to the nipple. These canals are called ducts.
  • The nipple is the opening in the skin of the breast where the ducts come together and turn into larger ducts, so that milk can leave the breast. The slightly darker, thicker skin that surrounds the nipple is known as the areola. 
  • Fat and connective tissue, known as stroma, surrounds the ducts and lobules, helping to keep them in place. 
  • Blood vessels and lymph vessels can also be found in each breast. 

Breast cancer can form in any of these areas of the breast, with the ducts being the most common place for cancer to start. 

The Process of Breast Cancer Formation

As mentioned above, breast cancer is caused by the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells. When some breast cells begin to grow abnormally, they may divide more rapidly than healthy cells, and when they accumulate, they form a lump or mass. However, it is important to keep in mind that most breast lumps are benign, or non-cancerous. Non-cancerous breast lumps or tumors are abnormal but do not spread outside of the breast and are not life threatening. 

Cancerous breast lumps, however, can spread to different parts of the body. Typically, breast cancer will begin in one of the parts of the breasts mentioned above, and then these cancerous cells can get into the blood or lymph system and be carried to other parts of the body. Your lymph vessels work closely with your immune system, carrying lymph fluid through the tissues and to the blood. When cancer is detected, cancer cells may enter the lymph vessels and begin to grow within the lymph nodes. This is known as metastasis, or metastatic breast cancer. 

A Diverse Disease: What you should know about multiple types of breast Cancer

Yes, there are different types of breast cancer. The type of breast cancer can vary depending on its origin. For example, breast cancer that begins in lobules are known as lobular cancers, while breast cancer that begins in the ducts are known as ductal cancers. Additionally, the type of breast cancer is determined by the specific cells in the breast that are affected. Most breast cancers are known as carcinomas, which start in the epithelial cells that line organs and tissues. Carcinomas that form in the breast are usually a type called adenocarcinoma, which begins in the ducts or the lobules. There are other types of cancer that can occur in the breast, such as angiosarcoma or sarcoma, but these types are not considered breast cancer, as they begin in different cells of the breast. 

Lifestyle Choices and Breast Cancer: Breaking the Connection

Unfortunately, we do not know the exact cause of every type of breast cancer. However, there are certain risk factors that may make someone more susceptible to getting breast cancer. Some of these risk factors are lifestyle-based, while others are genetic and cannot be prevented. Here are some potential lifestyle-based risk factors:

  • Drinking alcohol excessively: Having 2 to 3 drinks per day increases your risk of breast cancer by 20%
  • Being overweight: This is especially true after menopause. Additionally, being overweight increases your blood insulin levels, which has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Not having children: Women who do not have children or had their first child after the age of 30 have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. 
  • Birth control: Some birth control methods use hormones, which can increase your risk of breast cancer.

Here are some genetics-based risk factors:

  • Being born female: Females are more likely to develop breast cancer than men.
  • Aging: Your risk of breast cancer increases with age– Most breast cancers are found in women aged 55 and older.
  • Inheriting certain genes: About 5-10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary due to a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. 
  • Having a family history of breast cancer: Women with close blood relatives with breast cancer have a higher risk. (We are proud to offer family history and genetic testing services to help you make informed decisions about your health!)

Prevention is Key: How to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

A breast cancer diagnosis can be scary. However, it is important to know that you are not alone! Thanks to new technology and science, breast cancer death rates have been decreasing steadily since 1989! If you have any concerns at all about your breasts, we strongly encourage you to set up a consultation with one of our licensed providers for a clinical breast exam! We also encourage you to check out our aesthetics and wellness clinic, Empower, which is dedicated to helping you feel more confident in your skin. Empower offers injectable treatments such as Botox, and other facial rejuvenation services such as laser treatment and more! Additionally, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us for a consultation if you have any questions or concerns pertaining to our service areas– We are committed to empowering women, and we are proud to offer treatments and products to help you look and feel your best. Thank you for taking the time to read today’s article and we hope you’ll check back in for future posts about treatments, wellness, and more!