6 Breast Cancer Risk Factors


Regular Reviewer

Are you familiar with the most common risk factors which contribute to the development of breast cancer?

Breast cancer risk factor #1: Age and gender
Women face a much greater risk than men, but men also face the danger of developing breast cancer. Women face a greater risk because they have more breast tissue than men and therefore the risk is 100 percent higher. American doctors assessed that an average woman, who lives up to 90 years of age, has from 10 to 15 percent of possibility to develop breast cancer.

Breast cancer risk gets higher with age and women over 60 years of age have a higher possibility to develop the disease. In the US only one out of eight women suffering from breast cancer is younger than 45 years and two out of third are older than 55 years. It is therefore advisable that all women over 45 years have a regular mammography every two years and women over 70 year of age, should have the examination every year. Even though breast cancer is very rare with young women, it is still advisable for girls over 20 years of age to examine their breasts monthly and in case of any lumps, even though they are probably not dangerous, visit the doctor immediately.

Breast cancer risk factor #2: Race
Caucasian women develop breast cancer more often than any other race, but with women under 40 years of age Afro-Americans are more prone to develop breast cancer than other women. Afro-American women also develop more aggressive types of breast tumors.

Breast cancer risk factor #3: Family history and genes
The risk for developing breast cancer is 50 percent higher if your mother, sister or daughter had breast or ovarian cancer. The risk also increases if your relative had breast cancer before the menopause and if the cancer affected both breasts. The danger is also higher if a male relative suffered from breast cancer. You also face a higher risk if you inherited the mutated forms of genes BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, which are usually found in cells and prevent the cells from extensive growth. The mutated form of the genes encourages the growth. If the mutation is present in the family, there is an 80 percent risk for breast cancer to develop.

Breast cancer risk factor #4: Personal health history
The possibility is also higher for women who have a history of various breast diseases. Among them are also abnormal breast cells and one of the forms of breast cancer (cancer of the milk glands) which increase the possibility for the other types of cancer: for example the cancer of the fat or fibrous tissues.

Breast cancer risk factor #5: Unhealthy lifestyle
Increased body weight increases the possibility of breast cancer, especially after the menopause. Alcoholism is also one of the risk factors and the webportal WebMd states that women who drink one alcoholic drink per day already have a slightly increased risk for breast cancer, compared to women who never drink. Women who have 2 to 5 drinks per day, increase the risk for 1,5 percent.

Breast cancer risk factor #6: Period, childbirth and breastfeeding
Women whose period started early (before they were 12 years old) also face a higher risk and those whose menopause was late (sometime after 55 years of age). These are also risk factors that contribute to the development of uterine cancer. Women who don't breastfeed and those who gave birth very young also face a higher risk. On the other hand, women who first gave birth after they were 30 years old also face a risk, compared to younger ones