Risk Factors of Breast CancerPage 2
Written by : Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Personal History: A woman who has had any type of breast cancer in one breast runs a 3-4 times greater risk of the other breast getting cancer.
Previous Benign Breast Diseases: Women who have had a previous benign condition in a breast has a higher risk of getting cancer in the same breast. The benign conditions include:
Previous Childbirth: Women who have had no children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk. Women who have a number of children have a reduced risk, possibly because of a lesser number of menstrual cycles in the reproductive life and thus lower exposure to estrogen.
Recent Oral Contraceptive Use: Women who are on oral contraceptives have a slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer. But the risk returns to that of the normal population 10 years after stopping the pills.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Women who are on Hormone Replacement therapy also have a higher risk of breast cancer, but in their case too, the risk comes back to that of the normal population wihtin 5 years of stopping the HRT.
Race and Ethnicity: White women have a slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer but black women get more aggressive breast cancers and are more at risk of dying from it if they do get breast cancer. Asian and Hispanic women have a lesser risk of getting breast cancer.
Diet: Women who take a diet rich in fats and oils have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who do not. But women who take oils like olive oil and canola oil have a lesser risk as compared to women who take polyunsaturated fats like corn oils, margarine and saturated fats present in meat.
Alcohol: Taking alcohol in excess increases the risk of many types of cancers, including breast cancers. A woman who consumed alcohol had a 30% higher risk of developing breast cancer, compared to women who did not drink. The American Cancer Society recommends that women limit their consumption of alcohol to no more than one drink per day.
Weight: Women who gain weight after menopause seem to be at a higher risk of getting breast cancer. This is because peripheral fat produces estrogens and the organs are exposed to a longer duration of estrogens than others. But women who are overweight since childhood are at a lesser risk than women who gain weight after menopause.
Previous Radiation Therapy: Women who have received radiation to the chest due to any cancers, especially Hodgkin's disease are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
More Risk Factors
- Ductal carcinoma in Situ (DCIS)
- Lobular carcinoma in Situ(LCIS)
- Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia (ADH)
- Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia(ALH)
- Complex fibroadenoma
- Sclerosing adenosis