Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

October is breast cancer awareness month and the perfect time to learn more about risk factors for breast cancer, the cancer that affects so many women in the United States. Each year, it is estimated that 190,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer, which equates to 1 in 8 women falling victim to breast cancer in their lifetime.

While cancer can affect anyone at any time, below are risk factors for breast cancer that may increase your likelihood for developing breast cancer. If you meet any of the risk factors for breast cancer below, it may be wise to take precautions, such as yearly breast cancer screenings.

  • Gender: Breast cancer can affect both men and women. However, breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than men.
  • Age: Breast cancer is most likely to occur in women over the age of 60. It is reported that only 10-15% of breast cancer patients are under the age of 45.
  • Birth Control Pills: Oral contraceptive use within the last 10 years may increase your risk for breast cancer.
  • Family History: If breast cancer has affected other women in the family, chances of developing the cancer increase.
  • Genes: Mutations in certain genes may make women more susceptible to breast cancer, such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
  • Not Having Children: Women who do not have children or who have children after the age of 35 may be at an increased risk for developing the cancer.
  • Diethylstilbestrol exposure: Also known as DES, this drug that was administered during pregnancy may slightly increase the risk for both the recipient and women whose mothers took the drug during pregnancy.
  • Menstrual History: Women who begin menstruation before the age 12 or who enter menopause after the age of 55 have a slightly higher risk for breast cancer.
  • High Breast Density: For women with more glandular and fibrous tissue in their breasts, breast cancer may be more common.
  • Combined postmenopausal hormone therapy: Using combined hormone therapy after menopause may put women at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
  • Radiation exposure: For women who may have had radiation therapy previously, specifically around the chest area, are at a higher risk for developing this type of cancer.
  • Benign Breast Changes: Even though benign, certain conditions could increase breast cancer risk.
  • Certain Lifestyles: Women who drink heavily or live a sedentary lifestyle, may be more likely to experience breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Obesity: Weight gain, specifically during adulthood, could result in a greater likelihood for breast cancer after menopause.

Learn More

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, request an appointment with Suncoast Cancer Institute today. Our team of oncology specialists will make your treatment their priority. Learn more about what sets Suncoast Cancer Institute apart from others in the area.

Let us know how we are doing!