Female breast tissues have microbiome systems that may downplay or elevate a woman’s risk of getting cancer. Find out how.
Each individual has his own special bacterial colony, a microbiome that dictates how the body reacts to illnesses, stimulus, and other activities happening within.
Microbiomes are known to be present in the stomach. Recently, it was found out that they are also present and active in female breast tissues and may dictate if a woman is at high risk of breast cancer or not.
The probability of acquiring breast cancer depends on the woman’s age, race, body weight, and history of cancer treatments, among others. A woman’s genes also influence this probability by up to 10 percent.
More than five decades ago, a study revealed that women who got pregnant and reached full term before age 30 had a lesser chance of contracting breast cancer. Breastfeeding at around this time also lowered the risk.
Scientists have made attempts to explain how breastfeeding relates to fighting cancer. They came out with the idea that bacteria in mother’s milk could hold the key but failed to validate this further. For a time, experts believe that breast tissues are bacteria free.
In 2014, Western University, Ontario Canada reported that breast tissues do have a colony of bacteria that promotes healthy breast tissues.
The same team performed a new experiment on breast tissues, in an attempt to find out types of bacteria present and pinpoint which ones are prevalent among women with cancer and those who have remained cancer-free throughout their lives.
The experiment revealed that females with benign or malignant breast tumors had high Bacillus, Staphylococcus, and Enterobacteriaceae levels.
Based on earlier studies, these same bacteria trigger DNA damage that could lead to the proliferation of cancer cells. On the other hand, subjects who are cancer free harbored higher Streptococcus and Lactococcus bacteria, the types that carry anti-cancer features.
One type of Streptococcus bacteria releases antioxidants that act as a neutralizer of reactive oxygen species molecules which trigger DNA destruction and eventually cancer.
Simply put, bacteria present in women’s breast tissues can either arrest or promote breast cancer.
The subjects experimented on were quite a few in number thus, the findings may not hold true for women worldwide.
On a positive note, if more research is done and the results confirm earlier findings of bacterial colonies in breast tissues, women have increased chances of reverting their fate. They can alter their in-born, cancer-causing microbiome by increasing “good” bacterial colonies through probiotic supplementation.
Studies suggest that lactobacilli when taken orally, can travel to the mammary gland.
While we now know that breast tissues aren’t bacteria free because of these microbiomes, more research is needed to confirm if some bacteria types like lactobacilli can be used by women as a cancer prevention treatment.
If these results are validated through more experiments on microbiomes and breast tissues, it could open doors to more natural, non-invasive breast cancer treatments. Women who are at risk face a brighter, healthier future.