Changes in certain genes within the breast cells can be linked to a higher risk for breast cancer. Breast cells contain a variety of genes that normally work cooperatively with women’s natural hormones, diet and environment to keep breast cells from dividing and growing out of control and forming tumors. When these genes become altered, changes occur and a cell no longer can grow correctly.
Genetic changes may be inherited from a parent or may accumulate throughout a person’s lifetime. Breast cancer usually begins in a single cell which starts changing from normal to malignant over a period of time. Presently, no one can predict exactly when cancer will occur or how it will progress. When breast cancer is diagnosed – even if detected at the earliest stage – it is not yet possible to predict which cancer cells will be treated successfully and which will continue to grow and spread quickly to other parts of the body.