Causes of Breast Cancer with Dr. Jane Mendez | Health Channel
It is notoriously difficult to determine any specific causes of breast cancer, making it challenging for young women to know if they are at risk. In an interview with the Health Channel, Dr. Jane Mendez, a Breast Surgery Specialist, explains what experts do know about what causes breast cancer.
Dr. Mendez says that to some extent, all women are at risk for breast cancer and it affects women of all ages. “There was a story, a few weeks ago, about a 24 year old woman who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. It shocked her; she never even thought about it,” Andrew, the interviewer, recounts. While breast cancer can affect every age, the incidence of breast cancer increases with age.
It is difficult to find a cure for breast cancer because the risk factors for it are so multifactorial. For example, Dr. Mendez says that we know that 85% of breast cancer is sporadic and occurs with no prior indication of any risk. They do not even have any family history of breast cancer. Ten percent of women who develop breast cancer have a family history, but they do not have any identifiable genetic mutation that is in their family causing the cancer. The remaining five percent of women, as Dr. Mendez puts it, the Angelina Jolie’s of the world, have an identical genetic mutation that can be spotted and acted upon.
That genetic mutation is called the BRCA gene and it is the most prevalent gene associated with breast cancer and ovarian cancer. There are some modifiable factors that you can pay attention to such as exercise and diet but there are also factors that you have no control over. Having an early menarche, or first period, having children at a later age, having a late menopause, or being exposed to ionizing radiation are all factors that affect your risk of breast cancer. “It’s multifactorial, which makes it really challenging,” Dr. Mendez laments.
To watch the full segment of Dr. Mendez talking about the different causes of breast cancer, watch here: https://youtu.be/bU-VkawbW6E