1 in every 8 women has lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Let’s know about the 10 risk factors for developing Breast Cancer.
First of all, the number one risk factor is:
- Female gender itself, the reason being Estrogen. The female sex hormone that constantly influences growth and changes in the normal breast cells has a role in increasing the risk for Breast Cancer in women.
- Age – With increasing age, the risk of developing breast cancer rises from 0.44% for less than 30 age group to 3.5% for age more than 60.
- Family history of breast cancer wherein if first-degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) has breast cancer or there is a diagnosis of breast or ovarian cancer in first-degree relative at an age less than 50 years, then it is a strong risk predictor for breast cancer in future.
- Personnel history of breast cancer which means a treated patient of breast cancer is also at risk for developing breast cancer in the same or opposite breast in the future.
- Early menarche i.e. time to first menses and late menopause increases the duration of hormonal exposure to breasts thereby increasing the risk of breast cancer.
- Nulliparity i.e. not having children and lack of breastfeeding are the risk factors as pregnancy and breastfeeding reduce the number of menstrual cycles which helps in reducing hormonal exposure to breast tissues.
- History of biopsy for breast lumps with reports suggestive of ductal hyperplasia or carcinoma in situ which are Precancerous lesions which means they may progress to invasive breast cancer over a period of time.
- Obesity or overweight, as fat is the main source for female sex hormone. Estrogen which adds on to its exposure to breast especially after menopause when the ovaries stop producing hormones.
- Alcohol consumption and Cigarette smoking are considered to add on to the risk factors for breast cancer.
- Stress and Anxiety as it decreases immunity to fight against diseases.
Now having known the risk factors, let us know what we can do to prevent Breast cancer by putting certain factors on check.
- Exercise – 45 to 50 minutes of physical exercise at least 5 days a week will help control obesity and henceforth reducing breast cancer risk.
- Diet – low fat with plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding trans fats, processed meats, and smoked food helps prevention.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding as it reduces hormonal exposure to breast cells.
- Avoiding prolonged hormonal exposure like taking Combined Pills for more than 10 years.
- Early screening from the age of 25 years for individuals with first-degree relatives affected by Breast cancer.