(ROJ-BCAW) Causes of Breast Cancer

(ROJ-BCAW) Causes of Breast Cancer

ROJoson’s Breast Cancer Awareness Write-up (ROJ-BCAW-11oct12)


The Filipino community is made aware of the causes of breast cancer.

Causes of Breast Cancer


What are the causes and risk factors of breast cancer?


First of all, what is the difference between “causes” and “risk factors”?


“Causes” of breast cancer are the reasons why a breast cancer appear in a human being, meaning breast cancer is a result of this and that.  The this and that constitutes the causes.


“Risk factors” for breast cancer are those “elements that increase the chances of a human being to be afflicted with a breast cancer.


What, therefore, are the “causes” of breast cancer?


Breast cancer begins when a single breast cell is transformed or converted from a normal cell to a cancer cell.


What causes the previously normal breast cell to transform into a breast cancer cell?


There is a disruption of the normal regulation of the cell cycle, which consists of growth, replication of genetic material, and nuclear and cytoplasmic division.  When the cycle proceeds without control, cells can divide without order and accumulate genetic defects that can lead to a cancerous tumor.


What causes disruption of the normal regulation of the cell cycle?


A variety of genes are involved in the normal regulation of the cell cycle.


Two classes of genes, proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, link cell cycle control to tumor formation and development.

Proto-oncogene: A normal gene which, when altered by mutation, becomes an oncogene that can contribute to cancer. Proto-oncogenes may have many different functions in the cell. Some proto-oncogenes provide signals that lead to cell division. Other proto-oncogenes regulate programmed cell death (apoptosis).

A tumor suppressor gene, on the other hand, restricts cell cycle progression. Its control over cell division is lost with genetic alterations leading to their inactivation.

The genes contain a chemical called DNA.  It is the DNA that gives instructions on how the cell should work normally.   Changes or mutations in the DNA can disrupt the normal regulation of the cell cycle and therefore, can transform a normal breast cell into a breast cancer.  DNA mutations can either be inherited (parent to child) or acquired after birth.  Majority (about 90 to 95%) of the breast cancer DNA changes happen after birth rather than being inherited (5 to 10%).

What causes the changes in the DNA of the genes that eventually lead to breast cancer?

Even up to this time, the causes of  the DNA mutations that could lead to breast cancer are not exactly known.  However, risk factors have been identified. (To be continued.)



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