Risk Factors in the Development of Breast Cancer


In the world today, cancer is becoming more dangerous and it is killing thousands of people. There are different kinds of cancers, which affect different genders. However, most of the cancers affect both genders. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that affects both men and women. This paper will address the risk of breast cancer in women as well as the ways in which WHI has helped to change menopause treatment in women.

Risk Factors in the Development of Breast Cancer

A risk factor is anything that affects individual’s chances of getting any disease like cancer. There are different cancers, which have different threat factors. For example, smoking can be a risk factor for cancers of the mouth, larynx, lung, and kidney among other organs. Just being a woman makes one be more at risk of getting breast cancer than being a man, mainly because of the female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. According to Parkin, Boyd & Walker (2011), another risk factor is strongly related to the age of a person, as one gets older their risk of getting cancer is higher, especially in women who are 55 years or older. Oral contraceptives have also been associated with the cause of breast cancer in women since they contain synthetic sex hormones and sex hormones are a factor that causes breast cancer. Another risk factor is associated with genetics and family history, therefore, women who have relatives with cancer are more at risk of getting breast cancer themselves. Menopause is also a risk factor in breast cancer as women who get menopause in their older age are at higher risk of getting breast cancer. Being obese has been connected with bringing about post-menopausal breast cancer, because of the body mass index being higher than usual and therefore making one become overweight. Most women have thick or big breasts and this increases their risk of getting breast cancer or what is commonly known as situ breast carcinoma. Some exposure to radiation, such as radiotherapy or X radiation, has also increased the chances of one getting breast cancer. Habits like alcohol consumption and smoking are also risk factors that are associated with someone getting breast cancer, therefore, over-indulging in these habits can place one at risk of getting breast cancer and other forms of cancers as well. According to Parking, et al. (2011), other risk factors associated with breast cancer are personal history of breast cancer, race or ethnicity, pregnancy history, breastfeeding history, menstrual history, hormone replacement therapy, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, exposure to chemicals in food, cosmetics, sunscreen, and water among others

How the Women’s Health Initiative Has Changed Treatment of Menopause in Women

The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) came up with their first result in the treatment of menopause in women back in 2002. They found out an increased risk of some diseases like heart disease, breast cancer, stroke, deep vein among others in the post-menopausal women who get hormone therapy (HT). At first, they targeted older women from the age of 63 and over, but with time they included candidates of the women aged 40 with premature menopause brought about by surgery and endocrine system deficiencies. The WHI was prospective and haphazard because it carried out a research of more than 16 000 postmenopausal women aged between 50-79 who received estrogen plus progestin or estrogen alone. According to Grossman (2014), the study was conducted to identify the outcome of two treatment types on prevention of breast and colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease as well as bone fractures. The other group of women of 65 years and over were assessed on effects of dementia and Alzheimer and how to deal with them. According to the findings by the WHI, those older women who try to avoid heart disease and Alzheimer should avoid taking the hormone therapy. Breast cancer, headaches, bloating, and mood changes are some of the side effects that most women fear when they use the hormone therapy during menopause. Because of this, they rather prefer natural methods. Other methods that the WHI came up with are counseling women about HT before they start usage, encouraging lower dosage of the HT or recommending non-HT alternatives for the menopause symptoms.


Grossman, S. (2014). Porth’s Pathophysiology + Prepu for Porth’s Pathophysiology. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Parkin D., Boyd L., & Walker C. (2011). The fraction of cancer attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors in the UK in 2010, Br J Cancer; 105 (S2): S77-S81.

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