Surprising Facts about Breast Cancer

Surprising facts about breast cancer – Breast cancer, not surprisingly, is a common cause of death among women. If there was nothing unanticipated about breast cancer, these facts sure will take you by surprise.

Himanshu Sharma
MiscellaneousWritten by: Himanshu SharmaPublished at: Oct 01, 2012Updated at: Nov 02, 2012
Surprising Facts about Breast Cancer

Surprising Facts about Breast Cancer

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women worldwide. The breast cancer statistics released by the National Cancer Institute, US, revealed that breast cancer affects one in every eight women.


[Read: Breast Cancer Facts]

Little-known facts you should know about breast cancer

  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, after skin cancer.
  • Despite of the advancements in healthcare and technological development, the incidence of breast cancer is more in developed nations in comparison with  under-developed or developing countries.
  • Breast cancer is often called a hereditary health condition, but family history can’t be counted solely as a cause of breast cancer. A combination of environmental factors, dietary patterns, hormonal changes and medical history cause breast cancer. According to, only 5 to 10 per cent of breast cancer cases are hereditary.


[Read: Who is at Risk of Breast Cancer?]


  • Medullary carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, phyllodes tumours, Paget’s disease and tubular carcinoma are the less-known breast cancer types.
  • Studies have found that women with gene mutation have a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer i.e. as high as 80 per cent.
  • Breast cancer is not confined to the breast(s) in all cases. Breast cancer may spread to the bones, liver and lungs and is referred to as ‘metastatic’ cancer.


[Read: Treatment of Breast Cancer]


  • Breast cancer usually affects the left breast more than the right, the reason for which remains unknown.
  • Dense breasts and changes in the shape of breast(s) are often believed to be definite symptoms breast cancer. Dense breasts do increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer by manifolds, but isn’t a sure sign.
  • The first recorded mastectomy was performed on Theodora, Empress of Byzantine, in 548 A.D.
  • Male breast cancer is not common. Risk factors for male breast cancer include age, testicular disorders, severe liver disease, klinefelter’s syndrome, radiation exposure, estrogen-related therapies, obesity and BRCA gene mutations.
  • A study at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) linked exposure to ethylene oxide to increase breast cancer risk, implying that women working in commercial sterilisation facilities are at high risk of developing breast cancer.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer suggested that women working in night shifts or as flight attendants have frequent circadian rhythm disruptions, which puts them at high risk of developing breast cancer.


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