Fibrocystic Breast Condition - Breast Cancer Risk and Concerns

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Why can fibrocystic breast condition be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer?

Fibrocystic breast condition that involves hyperplasia is associated with a slightly elevated risk of breast cancer, and atypical hyperplasia is associated with a moderately increased risk of breast cancer when compared to women without fibrocystic changes. This is because genetic errors (mutations) have begun to accumulate in cells that no longer respond normally to the signals that usually control cell growth and division. These cells may also have an impaired ability to repair any genetic damage. As the atypical cells increase in number, they accumulate additional genetic errors.

Environmental, dietary, and metabolic toxins may also interact with a woman's complex hormonal system to increase the risk of mutations and thus increase the risk of breast cancer. It has been demonstrated that individuals differ significantly in their ability to break down and remove toxins from the body. Some of this varied response to toxins may be due to inherited differences. The potential for DNA damage (leading to genetic errors or mutations), which can be caused by a variety of damaging agents combined with the stimulation of cell division, is what ultimately leads to the risk of breast cancer that is associated with some cases of fibrocystic breast condition; the ability to recognize and repair DNA damage, a process that cells must continuously perform, varies from person to person.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Louise, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 13

Thank you for interesting articles, but they fail to mention two other causes of this condition. I have long standing fibrocystic breast disease caused by a prolactinoma and polycystic ovarian syndrome, neither of which are mentioned in your article. I have had problems since I was 16. I recently stopped taking bromocriptine which has controlled it since 1977, since I'm now 68 and my endocrinologist thought the prolactinoma was inactive after radiotherapy 50 years ago and long term medication. After only 6 weeks I have tenderness in the right breast and excruciating pain in the left, and have restarted bromocriptine and added a homeopathic remedy called Lachesis, both of which are helping. But as one of the other ladies suggested it is very difficult to distinguish between past cysts and breast cancer by mammography after a lifetime of this condition, and none of us relish several biopsies, particularly as the breasts get progressively bigger after each major flare up, so more tissue to scan.

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Comment from: Sanding, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I was diagnosed with fibrocystic breasts from when I was in my teens. I had my first surgery at about 15 my second one in my early twenties. As I get older my worries increase that I might get cancer and what make it worse is my sister was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She had to take off her right breast and is now doing chemotherapy. I started mammogram from the age of 25 and have been doing it every year along with ultra sound. I really get panic attacks when I think about it. Every year it is horror waiting on my result. Not easy at all!

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