Breast cancer risk factors

Breast cancer, like most other cancers, is more common in older people. As the population ages, more cancers occur. However, breast cancer is a multifaceted disease and its development is affected by hormonal factors, for example. Some of the increase in breast cancer rates among women in Western countries is attributable to changing reproductive behavior as well as the aging population. Women are having a first child at a considerably later age, they are having fewer children, and the average duration of breast-feeding is shorter.
Hormone replacement therapy among women of menopausal age also increases the risk of breast cancer. Obesity increases estrogen levels and thereby breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Estrogen levels also increase if alcohol is consumed daily or in large amounts, increasing the risk of breast cancer by approximately 10% for each alcohol serving consumed daily on a regular basis.

Inherited susceptibility to breast cancer accounts for approximately 5–10% of breast cancer cases as we currently understand it.

However, quite a few patients have no known risk factors whatsoever, so some risk factors have yet to be identified.

A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of breast cancer, recurrent breast cancer and other diseases. According to a Finnish study, people who exercised 1.25–2.5 hours a week had a 20% lower risk of breast cancer than those who did not exercise. Avoiding obesity and daily or excessive alcohol consumption is also important.

The importance of a healthy lifestyle after breast cancer surgery.pdfThe importance of a healthy lifestyle after breast cancer surgery.pdf