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The Causes Of Breast Cancer Genetically Or Environmentally Influenced?

1073 words - 4 pages

The Causes of Breast Cancer - Genetically or Environmentally Influenced?IntroductionBreast cancer is easily defined as the uncontrolled growth of breast cells. (Staff of BreastCancer.org) These cells become abnormal and multiply without control; consequently, forming a tumor. (Staff of the U.S. National Library of Medicine) Though breast cancer can occur in both men and women, women are at a much higher risk of developing the disease. (Staff of MayoClinic) In fact, "About 1 out of every 7 women will get breast cancer over a 90-year lifespan." (Staff of BreastCancer.org) Many risk factors for breast cancer have been identified over the years, although, the actual causes of breast cancer still remain unknown. (Staff of WebMD) The debate whether or not breast cancer, or abnormalities in the development of the breast cells, is influenced by the environment and its surroundings or simply genetics still remains in dispute today. Genetic Influences While the definite causes of breast cancer are unknown, the influences of gene irregularity on the disease play a significant role in the development of cancer in the breasts. According to the American Cancer Society, "About 5-10% of breast cancers are linked to inherited changes or mutations in certain genes. The most common gene changes are those of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes." (Staff of American Cancer Society) The BRCA genes are considered to be "tumor suppressors" and when mutations are inherited from the parents, they can no longer suppress abnormal growth, therefore, cancer is more likely to develop. (Staff of American Cancer Society) In reality, women and men with the BRCA gene mutations have between a 40-85% chance of getting breast cancer sometime during their life and also tend to develop the disease at an earlier age. (Staff of eMedicineHealth) In addition, there are other variations of the genes CDH1, PTEN, STK11, and TP53, which also increase the risk of developing breast cancer. (Staff of the U.S. National Library of Medicine) Along with genetic mutations, family cancer history has long been known to be a crucial risk factor or cause for breast cancer. (Staff of MayoClinic) In actuality, it is said that 5-7% of women battling breast cancer have a mother, sister, or daughter with a previous cancer history. (Staff of Cornell University) However, it is important to note that "people inherit an increased risk of breast cancer, not the disease itself - not all people who inherit mutations in the BRCA genes will develop cancer." (Staff of the U.S. National Library of Medicine) From the information previously presented, it is easily noticed that 10-17% of all breast cancer cases are merely genetically influenced.Environmental Influences So, if 10-17% of breast cancer cases are genetically based then what causes the other 83-90% of the breast cancer cases? Professionals believe that the link is thought to be environmental rather than genetic, although, the causes cannot be easily measured. For instance,...

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