If You Have Had Breast Cancer Before
In this case, you will have regular follow-up appointments. Any changes in the same breast or the other breast can be checked quickly.
Having certain breast conditions can also increase the risk of developing breast cancer:
- Lobular carcinoma in situ
LCIS is also called lobular neoplasia. This is when there are abnormal cell changes in the lining of the lobules.
- Atypical ductal hyperplasia
This is when there are slightly abnormal-looking cells in the milk ducts in a small area of the breast.
Women with these non-cancerous conditions are usually monitored regularly, so any changes can be found early.
Lifestyle Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Unlike the risk factors outline above, lifestyle risk factors are ones that you have control over and can change.
If you want to make changes to your lifestyle behaviors or habits but dont know where to start, talk with a healthcare professional. Theyll be able to connect you with the resources and support you need.
Family And Personal History And Genetics
Having a close family member who has received a breast cancer or ovarian cancer diagnosis raises your risk of breast cancer.
According to of more than 113,000 women, the risk of breast cancer is more than doubled if you have a first-degree relative who has had breast cancer. A first-degree relative includes your:
If youve personally received a breast cancer diagnosis, you also have a higher risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast, or in a different area of the same breast.
This isnt the same as the risk of recurrence. That means that breast cancer that was diagnosed earlier has come back.
This doesnt automatically mean youll develop breast cancer if you have either of the mutations, but the risk is increased.
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No History Of Breastfeeding
If you breastfed, your risk of developing breast cancer may be reduced, especially if you did it for a year or longer. Breast cancer reduction is just one of many benefits associated with breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for about the first six months of life, then continuing to breastfeed, supplementing with appropriate foods, for one year or longer.
What to do: Consider breastfeeding, if possible, as it also protects your baby from many diseases.
Your Race And Ethnicity
White and Black women have the highest risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latina womens breast cancer rates fall in between two major groupings while American Indian and Alaska Native women are on the lowest end of risk.
While white women are more likely to develop breast cancer than Black women overall, they tend to be diagnosed at an older age . Black women have the highest breast cancer rates among women under age 40. Black women make up a higher percentage of triple-negative breast cancer cases.
What to do: If your race or ethnicity places you at higher risk, make sure you follow all screening recommendations to improve your chances of catching cancer early.
Factors Linked To Breast Cancer Risk
Some factors are linked to a small increased risk of breast cancer and others are linked to a larger increased risk.
Understanding which factors are linked to risk of breast cancer can help you work with your health care provider to address any concerns you have and develop a breast cancer screening plan thats right for you.
Our Breast Cancer Risk Factors Table compares risk factors by level of risk and strength of evidence.
Factors that affect breast cancer risk are listed below alphabetically.
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.
Learn more about age and breast cancer risk.
Both the age when a woman gives birth to her first child and the number of children a woman has are linked to the risk of breast cancer.
Women who give birth to their first child at age 35 or younger tend to have a decreased risk of breast cancer .
In general, the more times women have given birth, the lower the risk of breast cancer tends to be .
Learn more about age at first childbirth, number of childbirths and breast cancer risk.
Starting menstrual periods at a young age is linked to a small increase in breast cancer risk .
For example, women who begin their periods before age 11 have about a 15-20 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who begin their periods at age 15 or older .
Going through menopause at a later age is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer .
What Are Risk Factors
The exact cause of breast cancer is unknown. But certain things can increase your chance of developing it. These are called risk factors. The risk factors for invasive breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ are similar.
Having one or more risk factors does not mean you will definitely get breast cancer. And if you do not have any risk factors, it does not mean you will not get it.
Breast cancer is likely to be caused by a combination of different risk factors, rather than just one.
If you are worried about breast cancer and would like to talk to someone, we’re here. You can:
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Exposure To Ionizing Waves
The risks mentioned only by the experts: No perceived risks of exposure to ionizing waves was expressed by the laywomen. Meanwhile, the experts mentioned mammography or other diagnostic radiographies, chest radiography during puberty, chest radiotherapy for various causes, such as BC, and exposure to environmental ionizing radiation as BC risk factors:
“Ionizing waves, such as X-rays, and diagnostic imaging with X-ray, like CT and conventional radiographs, can all be carcinogenic.”
Concerning individual susceptibility, there were similarities and differences between the laywomen and experts. The family and genetic background were mentioned in both groups. However, in the laywomen, psychological factors and in the group of experts, anthropometric characteristics and demographic characteristics were perceived.
What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
CDCs Dr. Lisa Richardson explains the link between drinking alcoholic beverages and breast cancer risk in this video.
Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.
Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.
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Breast Cancer: Risk Factors And Prevention
Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.
ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing breast cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.
A risk factor is anything that increases a persons chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.
Most breast cancers are sporadic, meaning they develop from damage to a persons genes that occurs by chance after they are born. There is no risk of the person passing this gene on to their children, as the underlying cause of sporadic breast cancer is a combination of internal, or hormonal, exposures lifestyle factors environmental factors and normal physiology, such as DNA replication.
Inherited breast cancers are less common, making up 5% to 10% of cancers. Inherited breast cancer occurs when gene changes, called mutations or alterations, are passed down within a family from parent to child. Many of those mutations are in tumor suppressor genes, such as BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2. These genes normally keep cells from growing out of control and turning into cancer. But when these cells have a mutation, it can cause them to grow out of control.
What Do Scientists Actually Know About The Cause Of Breast Cancer
Cancer grows when a cells DNA is damaged, but why or how that DNA becomes damaged is still unknown. It could be genetic or environmental, or in most cases, a combination of the two. But most patients will never know exactly what caused their cancer. However, there are certain established risk factors that are associated with breast cancer.
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Treatment Of Breast Cancer And Ptsd
It’s important to receive treatment for PTSD immediately upon receiving a diagnosis. Recovering from PTSD improves health outcomes and survivorship for those with breast cancer.
PTSD treatment usually involves mental health therapy and possibly medication. Breast cancer treatment usually includes a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery , and possible hormone treatment.
How Can I Lower My Risk Of Breast Cancer
Many of the risk factors for developing breast cancer are related to our lifestyle habits. This means we can take action to improve our lifestyle and reduce our risk. Healthy lifestyle habits are the best way to lower our risk of developing all diseases. For instance, a balanced diet, enough physical activity and sufficient sleep are the pillars of a healthy life.
The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation encourages women to adopt healthy lifestyle habits by incorporating several simple actions into their daily lives.
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How Has The Risk Of Being Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Changed In Recent Years
For a woman born in the 1970s in the United States, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, based on breast cancer statistics from that time, was just under 10% .
The last five annual SEER Cancer Statistics Review reports show the following estimates of lifetime risk of breast cancer, all very close to a lifetime risk of 1 in 8:
- 12.83%, based on statistics for 2014 through 2016
- 12.44%, based on statistics for 2013 through 2015
- 12.41%, based on statistics for 2012 through 2014
- 12.43%, based on statistics for 2011 through 2013
- 12.32%, based on statistics for 2010 through 2012
SEER statisticians expect some variability from year to year. Slight changes may be explained by a variety of factors, including minor changes in risk factor levels in the population, slight changes in breast cancer screening rates, or just random variability inherent in the data.
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al. . SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 19752017, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, , based on November 2019 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2020.
- Reviewed:December 16, 2020
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Family And Genetic Background
There were differences and similarities between the perception of the participants concerning family and genetic background.
The perceived risk factors by the laywomen were limited to family history of BC, ovarian cancer, hereditary background, and genetics. In this regard, one of the participants stated:
“We are 100% at risk. Because it is said that genetics plays a key role in the occurrence of this cancer and since my mother’s BC was aggressive, we consulted several specialists the first thing they said was that her daughters and sisters follow up the disease seriously….”
The risks mentioned only by the experts: The experts pointed broader risk factors in this field, such as family history of colon and gastric cancer, paternal family history of BC, family history of glioma or multiple cancers in young relatives, the number of affected relatives, and history of BC in a male family member. One of the experts mentioned:
“The next issue is whether there was anyone in the family with cancer under the age of 40. Has anyone had a history of bilateral cancers? Did a man in their family have cancer? The presence of a father, brother, or close male relative who has had cancer is closely linked to the brca2 gene. After that, sarcoma, glioma, in other words, some brain tumors, in relatives under the age of 45 can increase the risk. One thing that is of particular importance is the high risk of BC if two or more people from the father’s family of a woman have had cancers ”
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Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines
- Women ages 40 to 44 have the option to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms. Breast ultrasound can be added for those with dense breast tissue.
- Women ages 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
- Women 55 and older can get mammograms every 2 years but can continue yearly if they choose.
- Screening should continue as long as a person is in good health and expected to live 10 years or more.
Some women may need breast MRIs with their mammograms due to family or personal history and risk factors. Ask your doctor whether this is right for you.
In addition to your annual breast cancer screening, its also important to pay attention to your breasts.
Know how your breasts normally look and feel, and do breast self-exams on a regular basis. Call your doctor if you feel a lump or notice any other changes.
Family History And Breast Cancer Risk
Most women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of it. Or if you have only one female relative diagnosed with breast cancer over the age of 40, your risk is unlikely to be very different from other women the same age as you.
But sometimes breast cancer can run in families. The chance of there being a family link is bigger when:
- a number of family members have been diagnosed with breast cancer or related cancers, such as ovarian cancer
- the family members are closely related
- the family members were diagnosed at a younger age
- a man in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Fewer than 1 in 10 breast cancers are thought to be caused by a change in a gene running through the family. In hereditary breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the two genes most often found to have a change.
Women with triple negative breast cancer are sometimes offered genetic testing. This is offered even if they do not have a family history of breast cancer. Most breast cancers caused by a change in the BRCA1 gene are triple negative. Your doctor or breast care nurse can explain more about this to you.
If you are worried about breast cancer in your family, talk to your GP or breast specialist. They can refer you to a family history clinic or a genetics clinic.
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Understanding Your Risk Of Breast Cancer
Several breast cancer risk assessment tools have been developed to help people estimate their chance of developing breast cancer. The best studied is the Gail model, which is available on the National Cancer Institutes website at www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool. After you enter some personal and family information, including your race/ethnicity, the tool provides you with a 5-year and lifetime estimate of the risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Because it only asks for information about breast cancer in first-degree family members and does not include their ages at diagnosis, the tool works best at estimating risk in people without a strong inherited breast cancer risk. In addition, it cannot be used by patients who have a personal history of breast cancer to determine their risk of developing a new breast cancer. For people with a personal history of breast cancer or a strong family history of breast cancer, other ways of determining their risk of breast cancer may work better. People with a strong family history of breast cancer risk should consider talking to a genetic counselor.
It is important to talk with your doctor about how to estimate your personal risk of breast cancer and to discuss risk-reducing or prevention options .