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Risk Factors For Breast Cancer


February 27, 2013

Breast Cancer
8293
Basics
Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
htmBreastCancerRiskFactors
While no one knows exactly why breast cancer develops, certain factors are known to increase your risk of this disease.
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InteliHealth
2008-07-20
t
Harvard Medical School
2010-07-20

Harvard Medical School

Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women after skin cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer). While no one knows exactly why breast cancer develops, certain factors are known to increase your risk of this disease. It's also important to realize that some women with many risk factors never get breast cancer, and that the majority of women who do get the disease have few or no risk factors.

A woman can change some of her risk factors, but not others. For example, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise may lower you risk of breast cancer. On the other hand, just getting older and a family history of breast cancer cannot be modified.

The following table lists some of the factors that are recognized to increase or decrease your risk of breast cancer:

 

Risk Factors

 

How This Factor Affects Your Risk Of Breast Cancer

 

Breast Diseases
 
Having had breast cancer before
Large increase
Having had a biopsy which showed ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
Large increase
Having had a biopsy which showed lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
Very large increase
Having had a biopsy which showed hyperplasia or atypical cells
Moderate to large increase
Family History Of Breast Cancer
 
Mother or sister had breast cancer at a young age
Large increase
Mother or sister had breast cancer after age 70
Moderate Increase
Both mother and sister had breast cancer at any age
Large increase
Personally carrying a known breast-cancer gene such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
Very large increase
Medical Treatment
 
Previous high-dose radiation exposure to the chest
Large increase
Current use of hormone-replacement therapy
Moderate increase
Current or recent use of birth-control pills
Slight increase
Lifestyle And Habits
 
Having 2 or more drinks of alcohol per day
Moderate increase
Getting regular exercise
Slight decrease
Breast-feeding your children
Slight decrease
Being overweight
Moderate increase
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