Breast Cancer Risk Factors

There are many risk factors for breast cancer in women, some of which are biologically predetermined and can't be reduced.

Whilst most women have some of these risk factors, this does not necessarily mean they will get breast cancer.

Menopause - starting menopause at a late age

Menstruation Periods - starting the first menstrual period at an early age can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Alcohol - drinking alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer. Limiting alcohol intake is a way of preventing breast cancer.

Age - there is a higher rate of breast cancer amongst older age groups. Women over 50 years of age are more susceptible. Breast screening for women over 40 years is an important preventative measure for breast cancer.

Children - having no children or having children later on in life can increase the risk of breast cancer in women.

Personal History of Breast Cancer - or benign breast diseases (for example, atypical ductal hyperplasia).

Lack of exercise - see also Exercise & Breast Cancer

Oral contraception - using birth control pills can increase the risk of breast cancer

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - using HRT over an extended period of time can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Radiation therapy - to the breast or chest area.

Family history of breast cancer - there is a higher risk of breast cancer if close family members including fathers, mothers, sisters and daughters have had this disease.

Genetic predisposition to breast cancer - Gene mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes are linked to the breast cancer.

Obesity and being overweight - this preventative risk factor is greater after the menopause
(try our body mass index calculator to determine if you classed as being overweight).

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