All women are at risk when it comes to breast cancer, but no one knows what exactly causes breast cancer. Doctors often cannot explain why one woman develops breast cancer and another does not. Research has shown that women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer.
Some examples of risk factors are:
- Cancer is heredatary; If your sister, mother, or daughter developed breast cancer, then you have a higher risk of developing it yourself.
- Your own personal history with cancer;
- The age at which your menstrual cycle began; how earlier your cycle began, how higher the risk.
- The age at which you go through menopause; women who have their menopause after the age of 55 are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- The age at which you give birth to your first child; the risk increases with older age, but if you have first degree relatives with carcinoma of the breast, then risk goes down.
- Your current age; The risk increases with age. Age is the biggest risk factor. (76% of women who develop breast cancer had no other risk factors).
- Your race; Caucasian women have a slightly higher risk than Black, Hispanic, or Asian women.
- Your health; women who are overweight or obese after their menopause have a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Drinking alcohol; studies suggest that the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer.
Many risk factors can be avoided, others, such as family history, cannot. Women can help protect themselves by staying away from known risk factors whenever possible, but shouldn't let it dominate their life. It is important to keep in mind that most women who have known risk factors do not get breast cancer, and most women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. In fact, except for growing older, most women with breast cancer have no clear risk factors. If you think you may be at risk, you should discuss this concern with your physician. He or she may be able to suggest ways to reduce your risk, and can plan a schedule for checkups.
Recent publications suggest that certain diets decrease the risk of cancer in general. For more information on "anticancer foods" check out this section of our website >>click here.