Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in women after skin cancer. It can occur in anyone with breast tissue, though it’s very rare in men. Only about 1 man in 1,000 will develop invasive breast cancer in his lifetime. Approximately 2,550 cases of male breast cancer will likely be diagnosed in 2018, and an estimated 480 men will die from the disease.
Breast cancer starts with a tumor in the breast. A tumor is a mass of abnormal cells that rapidly divide and grow. Most tumors begin in either the lobules (the glands that produce milk) or in the ducts (the tubes that bring milk to the nipple). Though it is less common, a tumor can also begin in the connective tissue of the breast.
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
The largest risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman: An estimated 12 percent of women who have an average risk of breast cancer will develop it at some point in their lifetimes. A variety of factors can increase that risk.
Age The risk of breast cancer increases as women age, particularly after age 50 and between ages 60 and 69. Approximately two-thirds of all invasive breast cancer occurs in women at least 55 years old. Half of all cases are diagnosed after age 62.
Family and Personal History Your risk of breast cancer increases if you have close relatives with a breast cancer diagnosis. The risk is twice as high if your mother, sister, or daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer. If you have a personal history of breast cancer, your risk of developing a new breast cancer is 3 to 4 times greater, aside from any risk of the previous cancer returning. (2)
Genetics Women also have a substantially increased risk of breast cancer if they carry a mutation in one of two genes called BRCA, which are known to be linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
History of Radiation Past radiation to treat a previous cancer outside of the breast or to treat acne in adolescence increases your lifetime risk of breast cancer.
History of Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Use Women who took DES, a drug that was prescribed between 1938 and 1971 to help sustain pregnancies, have a higher risk of breast cancer. Those exposed to prenatal DES may also be at a higher risk.
Increased Weight Women have a higher risk of breast cancer if they are overweight or obese, particularly after menopause. The risk of recurrence (the cancer coming back) is also higher in overweight women.
Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding History Women have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer if they do not have a full-term pregnancy before age 30. However, breast-feeding reduces the risk of breast cancer, especially if done for a year or longer.
Menstrual History Women’s risk of breast cancer is higher later in life if they got their first period before age 12 or did not enter menopause until after age 55.
Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy These drugs increase the risk of breast cancer.
Drinking Alcohol Beer, wine, and liquor all raise the risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Dense Breasts Women with dense breasts may have up to 6 times greater risk of breast cancer. Mammograms may not detect breast cancer as easily on dense breasts.
Insufficient Physical Activity Women who don’t engage in regular physical exercise are at an increased risk.
Smoking Tobacco use increases the risk of breast cancer when women are younger and premenopausal. Though the research is not certain, regular exposure to very heavy secondhand smoke may increase postmenopausal women’s risk of breast cancer.
Race and Ethnicity White women have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer, followed closely by black women, compared with Latina, Native American or Alaska Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander women. Among women under 45 years old, black women have the highest risk of breast cancer and tend to develop more aggressive, advanced cancer than other diagnosed women under age 50. Black women are also more likely to die from breast cancer than women of other races or ethnicities, due at least in part to unequal access to care.
Environmental Factors Scientists are continuing to explore other possible risk factors that have weak or mixed findings in research. These include a low vitamin D level, light exposure at night (such as from shift work), and an unhealthy diet.
Breast cancer may also be linked to various chemical compounds in cosmetics, food, lawn care products, plastic, sunscreen, water, and grilled meats. Many of these chemicals are not avoidable, and it would take very high exposure over a long time for these chemicals to affect breast cancer risk. Research is unclear on how much or how little these compounds may increase risk.
Article Found Here: