Relationship between breast cancer and pregnancy.
However, researchers and physicians are all in agreement that there exists a link between breast cancer and pregnancy. Based on research conducted within the last decade, the risk of breast cancer increases within the first 2 to 15 years after a pregnancy. Contrastingly, women who give birth to their first children before the age of 30 are less likely to suffer from post-menopausal breast cancer.
This means that women’s long-term risk of breast cancer increases when they give birth after their fortieth birthday. Researchers have come up with theories to explain the link between breast cancer and pregnancy after 40.
Pregnancy hormones cause genetic changes
It is a widely accepted fact that hormones released during pregnancy trigger genetic changes. These genetic changes occur particularly in the mammary glands and contribute to the maturity of breast cells. The maturity of breast cells helps protect the body against breast cancer. Thus, women who get pregnant after their fortieth birthday are at a higher risk of breast cancer. The reason being that such women have been exposed to more estrogen than younger women. Estrogen is a hormone that has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
Genetic changes increase with age
The link between breast cancer and pregnancy after 40 can be attributed to increased chances of genetic changes. The chances of genetic changes increase with age. Thus women who get pregnant when they are aged 40 years or older are more likely to develop genetic changes during pregnancy. These genetic changes contribute to the development of cancerous cells in the breasts. These cancerous cells lead to breast cancer.
Age and the link between breast cancer and pregnancy after 40
During pregnancy, a woman’s breast cells grow rapidly. This rapid growth can result in genetic damage in the breast cells. Genetic damage has been associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, the chances of genetic damage due to rapid cell growth increases with age.
Thus women aged 35 years and over are at a higher risk of genetic damage. Thus, if the genes in one cell get damaged, the damaged is copied to the other developing cells. This increases the risk of breast cancer. In essence, women who have children after reaching age 40 are at a higher risk of breast cancer due to genetic damage. Also, based on research, the risk of breast cancer increases with age, thus older women are at a higher risk than their younger counterparts.