Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is there a cause of breast cancer or does it just happen on its own?"
Is there something that causes breast cancer? A couple of the women in my family have it and I want to make sure I do everything I can to avoid it. Are there causes or does it just happen? Like you can't control it?
Breast cancer is one of the most important women's health problems, and it is definitely something that you should talk with your doctor about, as they will be able to make recommendations on how to screen for the cancer. Unfortunately, the causes of breast cancer are mostly things that you cannot do anything about. For example, breast cancer has a strong genetic component, with certain genes that some people inherit playing a major role in the development of the cancer. For this reason, you are at higher risk of breast cancer if you have multiple family members who have had breast cancer, especially if they are first degree relatives (mother, sisters). Two risk factors for breast cancer which you can control are being overweight and smoking. The best thing to do to prevent breast cancer is to have regularly screenings with a mammogram. This is usually something that it is incorporated into your annual physical examination. If you have not had an annual exam in a while, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor or your OB GYN doctor. They will be able to help assess what your individual risk for breast cancer is and make recommendations as to when you should start screen mammograms.
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