Breast Cancer: Can having more children increase the risk of breast cancer?

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Breast cancer is one of the leading cancers in women. Every woman should be aware of her breast cancer risk factors. Many factors such as age, genetics, and lifestyle affect the risk of breast cancer

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Breast cancer is a major cancer in women. Many factors like age, genetics, and lifestyle affect the risk of breast cancer. Recently, TV actress Heena Khana has been diagnosed with breast cancer, after which everyone's interest has once again been aroused on this subject. Every woman should know her risk of breast cancer and take measures to reduce it. One such question that often comes to the mind of women is whether having more children can increase the risk of breast cancer. Dr. Ritika Harjani Hinduja shared her views on this subject.

In an interview with Hindustan Times, Dr Ritika Harjani Hinduja, oncologist at PD Hinduja Hospital, explained that the risk of breast cancer is linked to a woman's exposure to hormones (estrogen and progesterone) produced by her ovaries. She said that reproductive factors (such as increasing the duration or level of exposure to ovarian hormones, which stimulate cell growth) have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Early onset of menstruation, late onset of menopause, and other factors also cause breast tissue to be exposed to high levels of hormones for a longer period, such as late pregnancy and never having been pregnant.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding reduce the number of menstrual cycles a woman has and thus reduce her cumulative exposure to endogenous hormones, which is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. The effect of pregnancy and breastfeeding on a woman's body is that they stimulate breast cells to differentiate or mature so that they can effectively produce milk. These cells are more resistant to cancer.

Age at pregnancy,

age at first birth and number of children born are associated with breast cancer risk. Pregnancy may increase a woman's risk of cancer in the short term, while it may decrease cancer risk in the long term. Women who have their first child at an early age are less likely to develop breast cancer than women who choose to become pregnant later or do not have children at all.

Genetic damage to cells

Breast cells grow rapidly during pregnancy. Therefore, any genetic damage to breast cells during pregnancy is replicated with their growth. This rapid replication of genetic damage can also lead to breast cancer.

Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer

Sometimes giving birth multiple times can lead to abnormal growth of hormone-negative cells and cause a more aggressive type of hormone-negative cancer. This story explains the complex relationship between breast cancer and reproduction. It is important to know your risk factors for breast cancer and get regular check-ups from your doctor.