It's been estimated that 1 in 8 women in the United States will get breast cancer at some point in their lives. Research has found several risk factors may increase the chances of getting breast cancer. Some things you can change. Some you can't.
Here are the risk factors:
- Being younger when you first had your menstrual period. (before age 12)
- Starting menopause at a later age. (after age 55)
- Having your first child at an older age. (after age 35)
- Never giving birth.
- Not breastfeeding your babies.
- Long-term use of hormone-replacement therapy.
- Getting older.
- Personal history of breast cancer or some non-cancerous breast diseases.
- Family history of breast cancer (mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, or son).
- Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.
- Being overweight (especially after menopause).
- Having changes in the breast cancer-related genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
- Drinking alcohol. (more than one drink a day)
- Not getting regular exercise.
Having these risk factors doesn't mean you will definitely have breast cancer. But, it does mean you should talk to your doctor about ways to lower your risk and about breast cancer screening.