Women (and men) develop breast cancer for a variety of reasons, ranging from genetics to lifestyle. Learning more about the causes of breast cancer and the risks that can be changed can help you live the healthiest possible lifestyle. Factors that increase your risk do not mean you will get cancer, they simply mean it is more likely that you will develop this condition than someone without the risk factors would.
5 Factors that Increase Breast Cancer Risk
According to WebMD, the following factors contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer. Some you can change, some you can’t but all contribute to your personal risk rate.
The factor you really can’t do anything about is the one you are born with; genetics can increase your risk of contracting breast cancer some time in your life. Genes that contribute to risk are called BRCA1 and BRCA2; about 1 in every 200 women has or carries these genes. You need a genetic test to conclusively determine if you have these genes, but if you have a close family member with the condition, your risk goes up as well.
The older you get, the more likely you are to develop breast cancer. Once you pass your 50th birthday, your risk of getting breast cancer increases. The amount of risk varies based on your age and even your race, but in general, older women face a greater risk than younger ones when it comes to breast cancer.
If you don’t have kids or you have your first child after age 30, you could face a higher risk due to functionating estrogen and progesterone. Hormonal birth control methods can also contribute to risk.
Obesity or Being Overweight
Even being slightly overweight or inholding in a high fat, low fiber diet can lead to an increased risk. Obesity can contribute to many conditions, including breast and other forms of cancer. Making food choices that are healthy, eating fat in moderation and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce risk. While the link between obesity and cancer has been established, there is no way to tell exactly how much it increases your risk; opting for a healthy weight eliminates this factor entirely.
While the occasional drink won’t likely impact your cancer risk, drinking too much or too often could cause your risk to go up, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Drinking regularly can increase your risk of developing several types of breast cancer; cutting back could lead to less risk.
Since some factors that increase your risk are unavoidable (genetics and age), getting regular mammograms, living a healthy lifestyle and performing regular self-exams can help reduce your risk of contracting breast cancer. All of these things can also make it easier to treat you if you do develop the condition at some point (1 in 8 women will, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation). Taking steps now to reduce risk can protect your health in a variety of ways and reduce your breast cancer risk, too.
It is important to have an annual well-woman exam performed by your OBGYN can greatly reduce the risk of a variety of female problems and complications and is an easy way to potentially increase your life expectancy. Dr Eule is currently accepting new patients. Please call our office to schedule an appointment Denver Tech Center OBGYN 303-770-0665.