Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Risk factors of breast cancer

close up of hands and pink cancer awareness ribbonKnowing the factors that increase the risk of breast cancer can be priceless. Early detection can mean life or death for many. As we at Tomes & Hanratty, P.C. understand the impact breast cancer has on the individual and her family, we found it important to discuss some of the reasons that increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of the factors that may increase the risk of a woman having breast cancer include:

  • Age: approximately 65-percent of breast cancer cases occur in women age 55 or older
  • Race: Caucasian women are at the greatest risk of developing breast cancer
  • Personal history: breast abnormalities such as dense breasts or prior cancer
  • Family history: breast or ovarian cancer particularly in a mother, sisters or daughters
  • Timing of menstrual periods: menstruation beginning younger than 12 or menopause occurring over the age of 55
  • Dense breast tissue poses a difficulty in finding abnormalities
  • Exposure to DES: either taking it yourself or if your mother took DES before you were born
  • Prior radiation therapy to the chest
  • High levels of alcohol consumption: 2-5 drinks daily
  • Pregnancy occurring after age 30 or never having had a pregnancy
  • Obesity

Breast cancer causation

Injuries caused by a delay in breast cancer diagnosis fall into three general categories:

  • A decrease in the client’s chance of survival
  • More extensive spread of the disease within the breast or to other parts of the body.
  • More extensive treatment because of the spread of the disease, such as a mastectomy (removal of all breast tissue) instead of lumpectomy (removal of a portion of the breast), or the need for chemotherapy if an earlier diagnosis could have made the treatment unnecessary.