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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Breast Cancer Predictive Markers. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer

Hormones influence breast growth during puberty. Increased estrogen levels are also experienced in adult females during menstruation and pregnancy. Hormonal increases cause cycles of cell proliferation that increase the risk for DNA damage. If premalignant or malignant cells are present during these cycles, the hormones stimulate the growth of the malignant cells along with the normal cells. Approximately 75% of breast tumors are estrogen dependent. Tumor cells that contain estrogen receptors are called estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, while tumors that lack estrogen receptors are called ER-negative or estrogen independent.