Cancer Causes (cont.)
In this Article
Doctors may recommend hormones (estrogen alone or estrogen along with progestin) to help control problems (such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and thinning bones) that may occur during menopause. However, studies show that menopausal hormone therapy can cause serious side effects. Hormones may increase the risk of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, or blood clots.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a form of estrogen, was given to some pregnant women in the United States between about 1940 and 1971. Women who took DES during pregnancy may have a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer. Their daughters have an increased risk of developing a rare type of cancer of the cervix. The possible effects on their sons are under study.
Family history of cancer
Comment on this
Most cancers develop because of changes (mutations) in genes. A normal cell may become a cancer cell after a series of gene changes occur. Tobacco use, certain viruses, or other factors in a person's lifestyle or environment can cause such changes in certain types of cells.
Some gene changes that increase the risk of cancer are passed from parent to child. These changes are present at birth in all cells of the body.
It is uncommon for cancer to run in a family. However, certain types of cancer do occur more often in some families than in the rest of the population. For example, melanoma and cancers of the breast, ovary, prostate, and colon sometimes run in families. Several cases of the same cancer type in a family may be linked to inherited gene changes, which may increase the chance of developing cancers. However, environmental factors may also be involved. Most of the time, multiple cases of cancer in a family are just a matter of chance.
Viewers share their comments
Cancer Risk Factors - Sunlight Question: Were you diagnosed with skin cancer? Can you recall excessive sun exposure? Please share your story.
Cancer Risk Factors - Tobacco Question: Did/do you smoke or chew tobacco and have been diagnosed with cancer? Please share your experience.
Cancer Risk Factors - Chemicals and Substances Question: Were you diagnosed with cancer? Have you ever been exposed to chemicals? Please share your story.
Cancer Risk Factors - Family History Question: Is there a history of cancer in your family? What are your concerns?
Cancer Risk Factors - Diet and Exercise Question: In what ways does risk or fear of cancer influence your diet and exercise? Have you changed your lifestyle?
Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox FREE!