Knowing the risk factors for breast cancer won’t necessarily prevent cancer from developing, but it can help you detect it earlier, which significantly increases your chances of beating it.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include the following as breast cancer risk factors.
- Getting older – Most breast cancer is diagnosed in women after the age of 50. The older you get, the higher the risk of breast cancer.
- Genetics – Inheriting certain genetic mutations can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
- Starting menstrual period at a young age – Women who start menstrual periods before the age of 12 are at a higher risk of breast cancer. This is due to a longer exposure to hormones.
- Starting menopause after age 55 -Again, longer exposure to hormones increases the risk of developing cancer.
- Late pregnancy or no pregnancy – Having a first pregnancy after 30 or no pregnancy at all increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Physical inactivity – Women who are not physically active are at a higher risk.
- Being overweight or obese after menopause – Women who are overweight are more likely to develop breast cancer than women at a normal weight.
- Dense breast tissue – Women with dense breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Taking hormones – Taking hormones for more than 5 years has been shown to increase the chances of breast cancer.
- Taking oral contraceptives – Some types of birth control pills increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
- Past history of breast cancer – Women who have had breast cancer in the past are more likely to have breast cancer a second time.
- History of breast diseases – A woman with a history of non-cancer breast disease is at a higher risk of breast cancer.
- Family history of breast cancer – Women who have a mother, sister, daughter, etc. who has had breast cancer are at a higher risk.
- Past radiation therapy of chest or breasts – Undergoing radiation therapy to the breasts or chest before the age of 30 increases a woman’s breast cancer risk.
- Drinking alcohol – Some studies show a direct relation between the amount of alcohol a woman drinks and her risk of developing breast cancer.
Early detection is key
The Breast Center recommends that all women start receiving annual mammograms starting at age 40. Women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, may benefit from earlier breast cancer screenings.
Some breast cancer risk factors are under your control and some are not. Individual patient risk assessment is the best way to determine what steps you need to take. Schedule your appointment with The Breast Center Today!