Breast cancer and cancer in other tissues and organs is caused by the same mechanism, but there are certain anatomical, microanatomical, physiological, and environmental factors that exacerbate the underlying cause of cancer so certain tissues such as bone marrow, lymph nodes, and epithelium (skin,cervix and vaginal surface,and vocal cords), which feature rapidly dividing cells, endothelium, which also features rapidly dividing cells(inside lining of the large intestine, esophagus, stomach, pharynx, lung, bronchal tubes, uterus, breast tubules), tissue with high blood flow (thyroid, brain, breast acini (the secretory units of the breast) and tubules, prostate, ovaries), tissue with paristaltic function (colon, pancreatic duct, bile ducts, esophagus, stomach), tissues which frequently feature low-grade, non-symtomatic infection (cervix, uterus, pharynx, larynx, vocal cords, stomach, colon), organs which feature frequent chemical irritation (bronchial tubes, lungs, lung pleura, pharynx, and esophagus). Tissues which feature exposure to ultra-violet radiation (skin). Those tissues which feature a combination of the above exacerbative structures, physiological function (paristalsis) or external conditions, such as the colon and lung feature an increased frequency of cancer. Tissues that have a great many microanatomical structures such as the breast will feature more frequent cancer development from a statistical aspect.
It is rare to have cancer, for instance, in the tissues of tendons and muscles since those tissues do not feature rapid cell division as do cells of the epitheleum and endothelium, both explained above.
The female breast features a great number of small structures that have a great amount of blood flow since the production of mammary milk reqires such a flow. Even in the non-pregnant female the vascular network in the breast acini and tubule structures features a dense capillary network. Men have very few breast acini compared to women and therefore male breast cancer is quite rare although I have had two cases in my clinics. The growth of the breast secretory units are influenced by estrogen so it is natural for breast cancer cells to be stimulated by estrogen and multiply faster. It is reasonably common for a woman who has breast cancer in one breast to develop it in the other due to the high-grade exacerbating situation in both breasts and the fact that the underlying disease process is likely to be of a higher grade in a patient who develops breast cancer or any other kind of cancer.
I had a number of patients in my clinic that had cancer of various tissues and one woman had had four major cancers: cervical at 28, breast at 34, colon at 42, and the other breast at 62. When I first interviewed her at 72 she had a squamous cell cancer on her cheek. Five cancers in one person; there had to be an underlying reason. She told me she was very sick when she was born and she was thought to die. Her mom brought her home and put her in a shoe box over the "old wood stove" and she lived. She was taged at birth virtually, with an autoimmune disease and she no doubt had more bouts with the infectous microorganism during her life which kept stimulating the autoimmune attack.
The underlying cause, however, is an autoimmune disease stimulated by prior infections by Streptoccocus pyogenes typically known as strep A. The step A bacterium has many sub-types and so many, many sub-types of autoantibodies can be developed over a person's lifetime from infections by the microorganism. Since breast cancer is common it must have a common cause is one principle to follow when dealing with its epidemiology and oncopathogenesis (I have to use a few large words!) Onco means cancer, patho means disease, and genesis means origin or development.
Steptococcal disease can appear in severe form such as erysipelas (a severe infection of the outer tissues of the body), strep throat, tonsillitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, what can be thought as the simple cold, streptococcal impetigo, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, a disease like a the flu or better said, influenza.
Influenza comes from the italian and it means "from the heavens". It does not mean a viral disease although it has been given that meaning commonly in the last 30 years. Symptomns such as: respiratory disease, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headache, feeling very weak/just want to lay down, photophobia (light hurts the eyes), delirium (feeling dizzy upright and/or sleeping for one to four days), fatigue, rash of some kind, fatigue for a few weeks or months after the episide. What I have described is a case of mild rheumatic fever although others may think I discribed a bad case of the flu. I think the word flu should be removed from the medical lexicon, because it means little and it tends to seem like a minimization and there is nothing minimal about rheumatic fever.
What to do for prevention except a bilateral mastectomy? Well, some women who are statistically at a high risk have that procedure and I can understand it. However it was reported in two major journals (JAMA and NEJM) that taking aspirin reduces the frequency of colon cancer and all cancers. Aspirin is the same "every day drug" that has been used for rheumatic pain (arthritis pain, bursitis, tendonits, nerve pain like sciatica)for over one hundred seventy years. It is the only drug needed when one is afflicted with rheumatic fever (plus penicillin). I suggest 325 mg. coated aspirin, one two times a day. Since allergies and asthma are caused by the same underlying disease process it is o.k. to take antihistmines another kind of antiinflammatory) daily. I think Zyrtec 10 mg in the am and 25mg benadryl in the p.m. is alright too. I suppose a person could substitute two ibuprofen (200mg) for the aspirin although I have no experience with it. I think, perhaps, Omega 3 caplets, two a day, may help "coat" blood vessels and reduce vascular inflamation caused by the underlying autoimmune disease process. I have to say the prior statement is just a "hunch".
Breast cancer is more frequent in patients who are closely related because the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria is very contagious and so within families more people will exchange infections through the years. Some genetic differences exist, probably, in the ability of people to contest the acute infections and the autoimmune attack, so there are a great number of variables. Streptococcus pyogenes has a great number of autoantigens that are capable stimulators of antibodies, but in this case they are autoantibodies because they attack the germ, but also our own tissues through the mechanism of antigenic mimicry. In short, the Strep A bacteria has many chemicals within it's wall that mimic our own tissue chemical structures so our own immune attack harms ourselves. It is a chronic condition with great variability over time.
Most people know that aspirin has been used for joint pain and neurological pain for over one hundred and seventy years. It is a great drug that Bayer couldn't patent due to some technical reasons. Then, about 40 years ago it was noticed that people had fewer heart attacks if they took aspirin. Now, it seems to reduce the frequency of cancer. Well, the commonality is that rheumatoid diseases (all of them), arteriosclerosis, and cancer are all caused by the same atuoimmune, inflammatory, disease, wherein the primary lesion is an autoimmune vasculitis caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, and wherein the chronic disease is best refered to as rheumatism. Yes, breast cancer is part of the rheumatism concept.
Galen, the famous Greek scientist, philosopher, and physican to Roman Emporers, in the Roman times, about 130 to 200 A.D. coined the word rheumatismos. Rheum means phlegm; Galen knew that repeated respiratory diseases caused many miserable, painful problems for mankind. Up to the early 1900's rheumatic fever was termed "acute rheumatism" and the chronic, often painful malady that followed during a person's lifetime was called chronic rheumatism or just plain rheumatism. A meaningful point is that we all have the disease and the multitude of changes caused by it are also those of aging. Naturally, somehow, we feel cancer is part of aging. What is true is that if a person gets cancer early in life they are simply aging faster, because they are more sick with the underlying autoimmune disease.