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The Main Causes Of Breast Cancer

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Approximately 19.4 million South African women over the age of 15 are at risk of developing breast cancer at some stage in their life.

As a result, breast cancer has been identified as being the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among women in the country. However, early detection and an awareness of symptoms and risk factors can significantly improve treatment outcomes.

Causes of breast cancer

When breast cells grow abnormally, they will start to divide at a faster pace than healthy cells and will grow to become a lump or a mass. Once this happens, breast cancer occurs.

The cancer will typically develop in the milk-producing ducts, which is called invasive ductal carcinoma.

There are various factors that could increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer, such as lifestyle, hormonal, and environmental factors. Certain genes can also pose as risk factors to develop inherited breast cancer.

Doctors believe that 5% to 10% of breast cancers can be attributed to gene mutations that have been passed on through family.

Breast cancer risk factors

Whilst the direct causes of breast cancer are unknown, there are several risk factors that might increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer, although this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop this type of cancer. Here are some of the risk factors:

  • Women are more likely to develop breast cancer than men.
  • As you age, your risk increases of developing breast cancer.
  • If you’ve previously had breast cancer in one breast, you have a higher risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
  • You are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer if you have a family history. If your mother, sister, or daughter have previously been diagnosed, especially at a younger age, your risk factor will be higher.
  • Giving birth to your first child after the age of 30.
  • Alcohol consumption has also been linked to developing breast cancer.

If you would like more information for comprehensive breast cancer protection under our Female Cancer Cover policy, contact our team at Total Risk Administrators today: Contact Us, or visit our Female Cancer Cover page to see what we have to offer.

Note: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on and matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgement available to the authors, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. Errors and Omissions Excepted. Terms and Conditions Apply.


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