Causes of Breast Cancer in Young Women

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 06, 2012

Causes of Breast Cancer in Young Women

Usually, young women (below 40 years) are not considered to be at risk of breast cancer, however, breast cancer can affect women of any age. Out of the total breast cancer cases per year, only 5 per cent cases are found to be in younger women.


Wrong lifestyles practices and one’s genetic makeup are the primary risk factors for breast cancer. A woman can diminish her chances of breast cancer by adhering to healthy lifestyle choices, though as a matter of fact, genetic mutation can’t be controlled or modified. Being aware of your personal risk factors of breast cancer will aid to prevent its occurrence. [Read:Who is at risk of Breast Cancer?]

Family History of Breast Cancer— Woman with a family history of breast cancer has two times higher the risk of developing the disease. Almost 85 per cent of total breast cancer patients do not report family history of breast cancer. The risk increases by four to five times if the relative, who had suffered from breast cancer, had it before her menopause or both her breasts were affected. Women belonging to families of which the members suffer from certain disorders, such as ataxia telangiectasia or Li-Fraumeni syndrome also possess higher chances of acquiring this cancer.


[Read: Family History no Clue to Risk of Breast Cancer]

Longer Exposure to Sex Hormone— Apart from family history, prolonged exposure to estrogen can trigger the onset of breast cancer. Women, who have had their cycles before they turned 12; women, who bear child in their late 30s or women with extended usage of birth control pills have higher possibilities of developing breast cancer before reaching the age of 40 years.[Read: Birth Control Pills and Breast Cancer Risk]

Genetic Mutations— Certain genetic mutations have been highlighted by the scientists that aggravate the risk of developing breast cancer. The genes that are likely to develop cancer of the breasts are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Many American women, who are descendants of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern and Central Europe, are said to have inherited BRCA1 mutation and are therefore, prone to breast cancer. The other genes that can be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer are p53, AT, the GADD repair group, the RB suppressor gene and the HER-2/neu oncogene (a gene that is inclined towards carcinogens).


[Read: Genetic Breast Cancer Risk Factors]

Other Causes of Breast Cancer

Apart from the aforementioned causes, there are some other risk factors of breast cancer in younger women such as

  • indulgence in alcohol and smoking
  • dense breasts
  • woman belonging to a certain race and ethnicity
  • obesity
  • high intake of red meat
  • intake of synthetic hormone.

The breast cancer treatment course depends on the stage of cancer and the extent to which it has affected the patient’s general health.

Read more articles on Breast Cancer.


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