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Breast Cancer Causes and Risks

A person’s risk of developing breast cancer increases as they age. The risk of developing breast cancer is not the same for everyone. Recent studies have shown that people with the any of the following factors have an increased chance of developing breast cancer.

Genetic Alterations

Inherited changes in certain genes increase the risk of breast cancer. Women who carry changes in these genes have a much higher risk of breast cancer than women who do not carry these changes.

Family History

Studies have shown that if another member of your family, male or female, has been diagnosed with breast cancer, your chances of developing the disease increase.

Personal History of Breast Cancer

If you were previously diagnosed with breast cancer, there is an increased chance that you will develop breast cancer a second time.

Radiation Therapy

If you have undergone radiation therapy to the chest area before the age of 30, you have an increased risk of developing breast cancer later in life. This includes being treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma. Recent studies have shown that the younger a person was when they received the radiation therapy, the greater the chance of developing breast cancer later in life.

Alcohol

Studies indicate that the more alcohol a person drinks, the greater the risk of developing breast cancer.

Reproductive and Menstrual History

If you had your first menstrual period before age 12 or went through menopause after age 55, you have an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Studies also have shown that women who had their first full-term pregnancy after age 30 or who have never had a full-term pregnancy are also at increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Long-Term Use of Menopausal Hormone Therapy

If you used a combined estrogen and progestin menopausal hormone therapy for more than five years, you have an increased chance of developing breast cancer.

Body Weight

Studies have found that postmenopausal women who have not used menopausal hormone therapy have a higher chance of getting breast cancer if you are overweight or obese.