Discover 12+ Breast cancer risk factors
Table of Contents
Breast cancer risk factors
The way breast cancer spreads throughout the body depends on numerous factors deemed as potential risks. These risk factors will determine what health deteriorating effects cancer might incur upon the body.
The average age a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer is around 50 years. Still, it does not mean that by having these breast cancer risk factors, you will develop breast cancer. There are even instances when women do not have any of the risk factors and still be diagnosed with breast cancer. Always consult your doctor if you have concerns on how to lower the risk factors that directly relate to your breast cancer. Moreover, do discuss the possible screening tests you can take that drastically helps detect breast cancer at earlier stages.
The factors that could influence the cancer spread can be divided into two categories. In the first category, there are breast cancer risk factors that are inevitable to avoid. The second category comprises of the risk factors that are related mostly to our lifestyle or having severe disease.
Unavoidable Risk Factors
- Age: It is inevitable to stop the body’s normal aging process. With the progression of time, cells start withering, and most of the body’s internal functions decline substantially. Amid this decrease in basic functions, the chances of developing breast cancer increase many folds.
- Genetic mutations: There are two genes named BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can be inherited from the parents in a mutated form. Such faulty genes, especially BRCA1 and BRCA2 can trigger breast cancer easily.
- Reproductive changes: With each menstrual cycle, hormonal changes take a perfectly normal place. However, in certain instances, females who develop puberty before the age of 12 years, and women who continue to have their menstrual cycles up to 55 years are prone to breast cancer.
- High breast tissue density: In the list of breast cancer risk factors, the type of breast tissue is also one factor that is considered. Various women have breast tissue denser than others. The reason for this thickness is due to fatty tissue as well as a lot of connective tissue. This unnecessary density makes it very challenging to identify abnormal growths or lumps on mammography or other diagnostic procedures.
- A personal history of cancer: If you already have breast cancer or a non-cancerous disease with a high risk of triggering breast cancer, it is most likely that cancer could appear again.
- A family history of breast cancer: If multiple members of the family, your mother, sister, or close relatives have breast cancer, it is most likely that you can develop breast cancer.
- Administration of diethylstilbestrol (DES): A medication named DES was introduced in 1940 up till 1970 to ensure the healthy development of the fetus. Unfortunately, this therapeutic drug increased the risk of breast cancer occurrence and was discontinued after 1971.
Avoidable Risk factors
The risk factors mentioned above cannot be stopped or slowed down. Still, several other factors solely depend on the individual’s daily living habits and lifestyle. Let’s briefly look at the breast cancer risk factors that we can control for an improved quality of life.
- Lack of physical activity: In this technologically driven society, we have forgotten to opt for healthy physical activities and a regular exercise routine. This decline has devastating effects on the overall health and increases the risk of breast cancer by many folds.
- Obesity: Being overweight, especially after menopause, does not only increases the risk of breast cancer but also increases the chances of you getting other diseases such as hypertension, heart diseases, and more.
- During hormone Management: There are certain medical conditions where your doctor might recommend hormone replacement therapy. If recommended after menopause for more than five years, these medications increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Time of childbirth: If a woman has a baby after the age of 30 years and avoids breastfeeding her baby by herself. This is also considered as a breast cancer risk factor because pregnancy during this age modifies internal body functions, having the capability to trigger breast cancer.
- Smoking and Alcohol consumption: Having a habit of smoking and drinking alcohol beyond advisable daily amounts is injurious to health and escalate the chances of developing breast cancer. The cigarette itself has a plethora of chemicals capable of triggering many diseases, including cancer. Read more about the effect of alcohol on breast cancer.
Till now, we have discussed all the risk factors that could lead to the development of breast cancer. Having one or more than one of these factors does not mean that you will develop breast cancer. Rather these are the breast cancer risk factors that can trigger cancer development.
Do consult your doctor and discuss the risk factors you might be concerned about. Eat healthily and maintain a regular exercise routine while keeping a tab on your health status.
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