What makes you more likely to get breast cancer?

Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of breast cancer. Being overweight or obese after menopause Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who are at a healthy weight. A breast cancer risk factor is anything that increases your chances of getting breast cancer. However, having one or even several risk factors for breast cancer doesn't necessarily mean that you'll develop breast cancer.

Many women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors other than just being women. Some risk factors for breast cancer are things that can't be changed, such as getting older or inheriting certain genetic changes. These increase the risk of breast cancer. Only about 2 out of 100 (approximately 2%) of breast cancers are related to a change in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

Women with dense breast tissue have less fat and more breast cells and connective tissue in their breasts. Doctors estimate that 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are related to genetic mutations transmitted from generation to generation to family. Women can choose to familiarize themselves with their breasts by inspecting them from time to time during a breast self-exam to check if they are aware of their breasts. Doctors usually divide benign breast conditions into different groups, depending on how they affect this risk.

Many women are concerned about having mammograms as part of the breast exam because it exposes them to X-rays. For example, a preventive bilateral mastectomy can reduce your chances of developing breast cancer by 90 percent or more, according to the American Cancer Society. A history of breast cancer also increases your risk, including your own personal history, if you've had it before, and your family history. The more fat you have, the more estrogen you produce, and estrogen fuels some types of breast cancer and causes them to grow.

The risk of breast cancer is higher in women with denser breast tissue compared to less dense tissue. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, a review of data from 14 studies found no conclusive evidence that women who use hair dyes are at greater risk of breast cancer compared to women who don't dye their hair. Women with higher levels of testosterone in their blood before menopause have a higher risk of breast cancer. If you had radiation therapy in the chest area to treat another type of cancer, your risk of developing breast cancer is greater than that of someone who hasn't had radiation therapy.

Medications that block estrogen, such as selective estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors, reduce the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk of developing the disease. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that a woman's chance of developing breast cancer during her lifetime is about 13 percent. Women diagnosed with DCIS or LCIS have twice the usual risk of developing invasive breast cancer in the same or another breast.

Tonya Sharrai
Tonya Sharrai

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