What Causes Hormonal Cancer?


Quick Answer

Hormonal cancers develop from several sources: genes, biological factors, lifestyle choices, certain medications and being overweight. Men and women naturally produce hormones, which regulate cell production. Sometimes, internal or external factors prevent or change cell multiplication, in turn affecting hormone levels and potentially causing problems.

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Full Answer

Genes and biological factors factor into likelihood of developing hormonal cancers. According to WebMD, women carrying the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 face a greater chance of developing breast cancer. People with family or personal history of hormonal cancers have higher cancer rates, too. Women age 30 or older at first childbirth or who cease menstruation after age 55 have a higher risk for hormone cancers as do those with menstrual cycles shorter or longer than the typical 26-day to 29-day cycle.

In addition to hormones, lifestyle and diet may increase risk of cancer development. Consuming a diet high in fat, with 20 to 30 percent of total calories from fat, or carrying excess weight may increase a person's chances of developing hormonal cancers, as can drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and not getting enough physical activity. Medications like contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy may increase risk of cancer development, too, although research remains inconclusive. Some types of cancer treatment, particularly radiation therapy, may also raise the risk of cancer.

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