Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. It can occur in both men and women, but it's far more common in women

Risk factors 

Here are the factors shared by Dr Swetha M P, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR, Bangalore that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:

1. Increasing age - Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age.

2. A personal history of breast conditions - If you've had a breast biopsy that found lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia of the breast, you have an increased risk of breast cancer. 

patient breast cancer

3. A personal history of breast cancer - If you've had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast.

4. A family history of breast cancer - If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly at a young age, your risk of breast cancer is increased. 

5. Inherited genes that increase cancer risk - Certain gene mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer BRCA1 and BRCA2.

6. Radiation exposure - If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, your risk of breast cancer is increased.

7. Obesity - Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.

obese breast cancer

8. Beginning your period at a younger age - Beginning your period before age 12 increases your risk of breast cancer.

9. Beginning menopause at an older age - If you began menopause at an older age, you're more likely to develop breast cancer.

10. Having your first child at an older age - Women who give birth to their first child after age 30 may have an increased risk of breast cancer.

11. Having never been pregnant - Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of breast cancer than do women who have had one or more pregnancies.

12. Postmenopausal hormone therapy

Prevention

check breast cancer

Breast cancer risk reduction for women with an average risk-

  • Breast self-exam. Making changes in your daily life may help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Try to:
  • Ask your doctor about breast cancer screening. Discuss with your doctor when to begin breast cancer screening exams and tests, such as clinical breast exams and mammograms.
  • Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of screening. Together, you can decide what breast cancer screening strategies are right for you.
  • Become familiar with your breasts through breast self-exam for breast awareness. 
  • Breast awareness can't prevent breast cancer, but it may help you to better understand the normal changes that your breasts undergo and identify any unusual signs and symptoms.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day if you choose to drink.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. 
  • Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Choose a healthy diet. Women who eat a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may have a reduced risk of breast cancer. 

Breast Cancer Risk Reduction For Women With A High Risk

Preventive Medications (Chemoprevention)

Estrogen-blocking medications, such as selective estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors, reduce the risk of breast cancer in women with a high risk of the disease.

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Preventive Surgery

Women with a very high risk of breast cancer may choose to have their healthy breasts surgically removed (prophylactic mastectomy).

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When To See A Doctor

Dr Swetha says, “If you find a lump or other change in your breast — even if a recent mammogram was normal — make an appointment with your doctor for prompt evaluation.” 

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