Breast cancer is perhaps the most common invasive cancer seen amongst females internationally. This form of cancer, reports show, accounts for up to twenty percent of cancer-related fatalities worldwide, and these rates are typically higher in developed nations as opposed to underdeveloped countries. While breast cancer is well-known, even having its own awareness month in October each year, the average individual still does not have sufficient knowledge surrounding it.
The natural process of aging is often a cause of breast cancer development. This occurs because of the way breast cancer develops. Malignant or cancerous cells are produced when there are abnormal changes in the part of a breast cell's DNA that control processes of cellular growth, multiplication, and apoptosis. This change in the DNA is called a DNA mutation. It only takes the right mutation of one breast tissue cell in order for malignancy to develop. Cells in the body change, grow, die, and multiply every day an individual is alive.
The cells in a younger individual's body have not undergone the same number of cell cycles or been exposed to as many damaging factors as an individual who is twenty years older than them. As a result, a younger individual's breast tissue cells have had less of an overall opportunity for the DNA to mutate. Another factor that plays into age-related risk for breast cancer is the fact an older body is less capable of repairing the damage that has occurred in a cell's DNA. Once the damage is beyond repair, the immune system is supposed to take over and eradicate any cells that have cancerous-like DNA abnormalities. Individuals who are older also have a decreased efficiency in this type of immune defense.