Some factors affect breast cancer risk a great deal and others by only a small amount.
Some risk factors you can’t change. For example, the most common risk factors for breast
cancer are being a woman and getting older.
Other factors you may be able to control. For example, leading a healthy lifestyle may
help lower your risk of breast cancer.
Understanding which factors may affect your risk can help you work with your health
care provider to address any concerns and develop a breast cancer screening plan that’s
right for you.
Risk factors are listed below
- Age is a risk factor
for breast cancer in both women and men. The older a person is, the more likely they are to get breast cancer
- Both the age when a woman
gives birth to her first child and the number of children a woman gives birth to affect her breast cancer risk.
- Starting menstrual
periods at a young age is linked to a small increase in breast cancer risk.
- Going through menopause
at a later age increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Drinking alcohol increases
the risk of breast cancer.
- Being female is the main risk factor for breast cancer.
- Current or recent use of birth
control pills slightly increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Being overweight or obese
affects the risk of breast cancer differently for premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
- Women with high bone
density have about a 60-80 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to women with low bone density.
- Breastfeeding lowers the
risk of breast cancer, especially in premenopausal (before menopause) women.
- A family history of
certain types of cancer can increase the risk of breast cancer. This increased risk may be due to
genetics, shared lifestyle factors or other family traits.
- Women who routinely work
night shifts for many years have a small increased risk of breast cancer.