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Risk Factors For Developing Breast Cancer

Updated on May 3, 2011

Breast cancer issue has been one of the most common health issues in women around the world. This cancer has caused and is still causing several deaths in women in various countries around the globe. Breast CA has actually accounted for approximately 18.2% of cancer deaths in women in the previous years and has been the most prominent cause of death in women in the ages of 40 to 55 or women who are postmenopausal. Also, due to lack of awareness and knowledge about this cancer, there have been several increased incidences of this disease especially in developing countries whereas various developed countries are experiencing a decrease in mortality rates due to this cancer just because of breast cancer awareness spread by several non-profit organizations and individual volunteers in these countries. Though there are several risk factors for developing breast cancer, it is important to note that most women who suffer from this disease do not have identifiable risk factors. Still you can go through some associated risk factors here:

Family History of Breast Cancer

One of the most important risk factors for developing breast cancer has been the family history of breast cancer in first degree relatives increasing approximately 3 times the chances of developing the same cancer, especially if diagnosed in premenopausal age and the presence of breast cancer in second degree relatives increases this risk. Approximately 8% of all cases of breast cancers are hereditary and half of the cases are attributed to mutations in two genes of susceptibility to breast cancer: BRCA1 and BRCA2. It occurs more frequently in premenopausal women.


Personal History of Breast Cancer

Benign breast disease, atypical hyperplasia, atypical proliferative lesions, invasive or in situ breast carcinoma, and endometrial carcinoma are all possible risk factors of developing true breast cancer. Other risk factors include variations in diet, especially associated with consumption of alcohol and increase fat content in diet. Other possible risk factors for developing breast cancer include radiation, obesity, chemical exposure, and lack of physical activity.

Hormonal Problems in Women

The risk of breast cancer has been associated with estrogen stimulation and a greater number of ovulatory cycles, so early menarche before 12 years of age or late menopause after 55 of age and nulliparity (not able to conceive and give birth to a baby) or minor number of pregnancies increase the risk of breast cancer. The use of estrogen or combination of progestin and estrogen in the form of hormone replacement drugs for more than 5 years has been considered as a risk factor for developing breast cancer.

It is a true fact that awareness of self-breast examination to be done on a routine basis combined with public screening programs has slowed down the progression of this life-threatening disease. Prevention and early detection of breast cancer has made it possible for doctors to save lives of several women around the world. The benefits of decreased mortality rates can be attributed to various public screening programs and advances in systemic treatment of this disease. But despite all the above efforts to eradicate breast cancer, according to a recent survey, it has been revealed that 1 in 10 women will suffer from breast cancer during their lifetime and 1% of breast cancers will keep on occurring in men. Median survival by age standardized in Europe is approximately 93% at 1 year and approximately 73% at 5 years, so it is still important to know the risk factors for developing breast cancer and prevent its devastating effects that can lead to death if not detected and treated on time.


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    • conradofontanilla profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Estrogen does not cause cancer; it only promotes the growth of cancerous cells, according to Dr. Elmer Cranton, MD (Bypassing Bypass, 1984). Risk factors are not causes. A risk factor is a devise used to predict the probability that a person will contract a disease, according to Dr. Michael DeBakey, a renowned heart surgeon, and Dr. Antonio Gotto, MD (The New Living Heart, 1997). Free radicals and reactive oxygen species cause cancer. I have a Hub on heritable breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      now i'm in my late 30 and unmarried . 3-4 times i feel pain like pinching in my left breast in and around nipple pain and it persist automatically. Neither i have any relation with any body nor i take any kind of alcol. But i know my diet is very poor and regularly i take lot of tea. Please just advice me.

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Red Eyes Environmental Estrogens - Risk Factor for Breast Cancer. That will make a great hub. I need to do my research now. Thanks for the wonderful ideas Patty.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Estrogen stimulation is a pretty big factor. All the more reason to perhaps be careful about using red dyes that are environmental estrogens. I am looking that up now for more info. hub rate Up and shared!


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