Breast cancer, by definition, is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. These cells have changed, or mutated, in a way that the green light to divide and replicate is always on. Furthermore, some of these mutated cells have gained the ability to invade healthy tissues, even in other parts of the body, causing metastasis, making them more dangerous than ever. For BCRF-supported researchers working on "Finding the Cause" of breast cancer, the key questions they ask are: what factors are responsible for regulating the growth of cells? What causes or triggers a cell to mutate? And how do these mutated cells move around the body and affect healthy cells?
BCRF-funded researchers are leading the foray into answering these questions. The ways that investigators are approaching their search into the origins of breast cancer can be divided into three categories: Inherited Susceptibility to Breast Cancer; External Effects; and irregular cellular activities or "When Good Cells Go Bad. All of these mechanisms are associated with changes in breast cells that turn them cancerous.