5 Breast Cancer Risk Factors in Women

Breast cancer is the second largest cause for cancer deaths in American women. The American Cancer Society statistics reveal a shocking fact. The risk of developing breast cancer for a woman in America is approximately 13 % in 2013-2014, and it has increased enormously from 1940, when the risk was just 5%.

According to the reports of American Cancer Society, Surveillance and Health Services Research, 2013, around 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer and around 39,620 deaths is estimated to happen amongst American women. Though the figures are much lower for men, it does not entirely cut out the risk for them. Here is the story of a male breast cancer survivor.


Previous History of Breast Cancer

A woman who has already been afflicted by breast cancer faces the maximum amount of risk possible for the horrible disease to appear in the other breast or in a new place in the previously affected breast. This new attack is totally different and has no relation to recurrence of the previous disease, hence should be looked upon as a new incidence of breast cancer.


Genes for Breast Cancer

You may be carrying the risk factors for developing breast cancer right within your genes. Women who have mutations of either BRCA1 or BRCA2 are exposed to a very high risk (almost 85%) of developing the awful disease in their lifetime. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are supposed to suppress formations of tumors.

As long as they function normally, they assist in blocking any uncontrolled cell growth that may eventually cause malignant tumors. When the BRCA genes develop faulty mutations, it can lead to the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Recently we all saw how Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie elected to have both her breasts removed after finding that she was carrying a mutant BRCA1 gene that put her at 87% risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.


Aging Beyond 40

Once you cross your 40th birthday, your middle age starts and with it brings in a lot of health disorders, so to say. The risk for developing breast cancer also becomes quite evident after your 40th birthday. Needless to say, your risk grows with each subsequent year of your life past 40 years, and the risk is highest, approximately 77 % in the age group of 50-60 years.

Knowing what age to start getting yourself examined for breast cancer is very important for better prognosis and treatment. Though the right age to begin the assessments would be 40 years, yet it would help to keep in mind that it is possible for even teens to develop breast cancer. By the way, FYI the youngest breast cancer patient ever  is Aleisha Hunter, who was diagnosed with this disease at the age of 2 years.


A History of Breast Cancer in Your Family

It goes without saying that when breast cancer has already affected one or more of your close blood relatives, then you are exposed to a much severe risk of developing the disease. Close relatives are also called as first degree relatives and they could be anyone among your mother, sister or daughter.


Previous Anomalous Breast Biopsy Results

If your breast biopsy was done any time in the past and if the results of that biopsy were odd or different from the normal range, then you have about 4-5 times more risk of developing breast cancer, compared to those whose breast biopsy results came out normal each time.


Empower Yourself With Information

It is highly important to understand that the 5 risk factors described here are not exclusive. There are several other factors like early onset of menstrual periods (before age 12) and history of other cancers in the family and so on, which can in turn aggravate the risk of developing breast cancer.

Please make sure that you empower yourself with relevant and reliable information and take adequate and timely measures like getting a mammogram done to screen for breast cancer / any abnormal tumors, in order to stay safe.

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1 thought on “5 Breast Cancer Risk Factors in Women”

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