Understanding Breast Cancer -- the Basics
What Causes Breast Cancer? continued...
Some studies suggest that the use of hormone replacement therapy with combined estrogen and progesterone containing compounds increases the risk of developing breast cancers. They also show, after a 7 year follow up, that the use of estrogens alone does not increase or decrease the risk of breast cancer development. Their use may, though, increase the risk of clotting.
High doses of radiation, such as with nuclear exposure, or therapeutic radiation, such as used for Hodgkin lymphoma, are a factor for breast cancer development after15-20 years. Mammography poses almost no risk of breast cancer development.
The link between diet and breast cancer has been debated. Obesity is a noteworthy risk factor, predominately in postmenopausal women, because obesity alters a woman's estrogen metabolism. Drinking alcohol regularly -- particularly more than one drink a day -- also increases the risk of breast cancer. Many studies have shown that women whose diets are high in fat, either from red meat or high-fat dairy products, are more likely to get the disease. Researchers suspect that if a woman lowers her daily calories from fat -- to less than 20-30 percent -- her diet may help protect her from developing breast cancer.