Risk factors

These factors are connected to the biology and genetics of individual women, but also to their personal environment and lifestyle

A woman exposed to risk factors has a higher chance of developing breast cancer (has increased risk).
Avoiding cancer-associated behaviors or environments can reduce the risk of the disease, but most risk factors cannot be controlled. 

Bellow is a list of all known risk factors for breast cancer, divided into major (effect) and minor factors:

Major risk factors:

  • Gender
  • Age (risk increases after 50)
  • Personal history of breast cancer 
  • Genetic predisposition  
  • History of benign changes in the breast 
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Familial history of breast cancer

Minor risk factors:

  • Late menopause (after 55)
  • Being overweight or obese after menopause 
  • Hormonal replacement therapies
  • Late or no pregnancy 
  • Drinking alcohol 

Protective factors:

  • Late menarche (first menstrual period)
  • Breastfeeding
  • Physical activity

Learn more about your risk of developing the disease on Am I at risk?

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