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What causes breast cancer?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Breast cancer develops when certain breast cells grow in irregular ways, reproducing faster than normal and spreading throughout healthy tissue. Nobody knows exactly what causes the cells to start doing this, but scientists have discovered some factors that increase your risk, including age, excess weight, and the use of alcohol, birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy. Breast cancer can run in families, too. Breast cancer genes 1 and 2 (BRCA1 and BRCA2) are two of the genes shown to raise the risk of breast cancer. A blood test can show whether you have these genes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.