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Breast Cancer

What are the causes / risk factors of breast cancer?

Lifestyle / environmental / conditional factors

Research at the American Institute of Cancer Research estimated that about 40% of U.S. breast cancer cases could be prevented by making better lifestyle choices.   This figure is likely a low estimate, since the latest paleoanthropological research shows that cancer was virtually nonexistent in humans before poor diet and pollution appeared.

Cancer is a man-made disease

Iron and aluminum toxicity in breast cancer

Bras and breast cancer


Genes do not have the last word.   Breast cancer risk increases only ~20-30% with a family history of the disease.  Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are said to increase breast cancer risk to 80%.  However, it is the expression of your genes that dictates the risk,  and not simply their existence. Gene expression can easily be controlled (by whether they are turned on or not) via lifestyle and dietary choices.


Conditional factors that increase relative risk for breast cancer (BC) in women

Relative Risk


> 4.0


Age > 65 - although risk increases across all ages until 80

Inherited mutations for breast cancer (BRCA-1 or BRCA-2)

2 or more 1st-degree relatives diagnosed with BC at an early age

Personal history of BC

High breast tissue density

Biopsy confirmed atypical hyperplasia

2.1 - 4.0

One 1st-degree relative with BC

High dose radiation to chest

High bone density (post-menopausal)

1.1 - 2.0

Factors affecting circulating hormones

Age >30 years at 1st full-term pregnancy

Menarche before age 12 years

Menopause > 55 years

No full-term pregnancies

Never breast-fed a child

Recent oral contraceptive use

Recent and long-term use of hormone replacement therapy

Postmenopausal obesity

1.1 - 2.0

Other Factors

Personal history of endometrium, ovary or colon cancer

Alcohol consumption*

Tall height

High socio-economic status

Jewish heritage

* More than 2 alcoholic drinks/day.   According to data published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2002, 4% of all breast cancers (~44,000 cases a year) in the United Kingdom are due to alcohol consumption. Could this be due to magnesium depletion in the body consequential to drinking alcohol?

Magnesium against Cancer

Almost half of women have dense breast tissue

High breast density affects ability to see abnormal tissue on a mammogram.   Tumors and calcifications show up white, as does dense breast tissue.

Dense breasts have relatively high amounts of glandular and connective tissue compared to fatty tissue.  The diagram below shows increasing levels of glandular / connective tissue density, which can only be seen on mammograms and can not be felt via physical examination. Breasts are classified as dense if they fall into the (C) and (D) classifications:

(A) Almost all fatty breast tissue (10% of women)

(B) Scattered dense glandular / connective tissue (40% of women)

(C) Hetererogeneously dense breast tissue with many areas of dense glandular / connective tissue (40% of women)

(D) Extremely dense tissue (10% of women)

Although often inherited, other factors can influence breast density.   Including increasing age, having children and using the estrogen-lowering drug Tamoxifen. Breast tissue density is also associated with having a low body mass and using postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy.

Having dense breast tissue does not increase death rate from breast cancer.  Although having high breast tissue increases risk for breast cancer, research shows that a woman with dense breast tissue is no more likely to die from breast cancer than a woman with fatty breast tissue.


The estrogen hormone ESTRADIOL speeds up breast cancer in estrogen receptor-sensitive cancer types)

Double blind, placebo controlled, randomized study used transdermal Progesterone and ESTRADIOL on 40 premenopausal women undergoing breast surgery for the removal of a lump.    The study examined results of two breast biopsies, one at the beginning of the study and another 13 days later.

-   Estrogen and the Progesterone did not show up in the serum, but showed up in the breast tissue at over 100% increased levels above placebo.   (Chang et al, 1995)

Results of Breast tissue cell proliferation from biopsies after 13 days Transdermal PROGESTERONE or ESTRADIOL Administration

Method of Measuring Cell Proliferation




Mitosis per 1000 Cells




PCNA (proliferating cell nuclear antigen) - the most accurate method




Study concluded that in normal breast tissue:

✔  Increased ESTRADIOL concentration increased cell proliferation

✔  Exposure to PROGESTERONE for 10-13 days reduced ESTRADIOL-induced proliferation

Based on PCNA numbers (PCNA presence in actively growing and dividing cells serves as a marker for such cells):

1. Topical Progesterone reduced ▼ cell proliferation by 410%

2. Topical ESTRADIOL increased ▲ cell proliferation by 223%

 Progesterone  levels naturally decrease with age.     In women this decrease occurs about the age of 35 and men about ten years later. Progesterone balances estrogen, such that an imbalance of estrogen over PROGESTERONE could be responsible for increased cell proliferation in estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.

Estrogen Dominance



Chang KJ, Lee TTY , Linares-Cruz G, Fournier S, de Lignieres B (1995) Influences of percutaneous administration of estradiol on human breast epithelial cell cycle in vivo. Fertility and Sterility; 63; 7865-7891. Online link

Ikram Ullah, Govindasamy-Muralidharan Karthik, Amjad Alkodsi, Una Kjällquist, Gustav StÃ¥lhammar, John Lövrot, Nelson-Fuentes Martinez, Jens Lagergren, Sampsa Hautaniemi, Johan Hartman, Jonas Bergh (2018) Evolutionary history of metastatic breast cancer reveals minimal seeding from axillary lymph nodes. Journal of Clinical Investigation; DOI: 10.1172/JCI96149


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