In and Out Express Care Blog

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

By Dana MacCorquodale | Published Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Breast cancer is a devastating disease. Approximately 12.5% of all US women will develop invasive breast cancer sometime in her life. It is expected that over 266,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the US. There will also be over 60,000 new cases of non invasive breast cancer this year alone.

Those numbers are staggering. Women with a family history of breast cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease. In some cases, a strong family history of breast cancer is linked to having an abnormal gene associated with a high risk of breast cancer, such as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

I know this looks grim, but there are things you can do to help prevent breast cancer. Research has shown that regular moderate exercise for 4-7 hours a week can lower your risk of breast cancer. Eat a diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables and limit saturated fat to decrease breast cancer risk. Limit alcohol consumption. Having 2 drinks a day increases your risk by 8%.

Body weight also can be a factor is breast cancer risk. In premenopausal women, being overweight or obese decreases breast cancer risk. In post menopausal women, being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk.

Simply being a woman increases your breast cancer risk. Men can also develop breast cancer but at a much lower rate than women.

The older you get, the higher your risk of breast cancer.

If you have already had breast cancer, your risk of developing it again are increased 3-4 times in the same breast or a different part of the same breast. This risk differs from the risk of the original cancer coming back.

If you have been exposed to radiation before the age of 30, you are at a higher risk.

White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African American, Hispanic and Asian women. However, African American women are more likely to develop more aggressive, more advanced stage breast cancer that is diagnosed at a young age.

Smoking increases your breath and lung cancer risk.

Using hormone replacement therapy can increase cancer risk.

Low levels of Vitamin D has been shown to contribute to breast cancer risk.

There are factors too numerous to list. In fact, it seems the list grows longer every day.

If you eat right (a diet full of organic fruits and veggies), exercise, maintain a healthy body weight, limit alcohol use, and treat your body right, you can rest soundly that you’re doing what you can to prevent breast cancer. Please talk to your doctor about how often to have mammograms. You should do a self exam once a month to check for lumps. Breast cancer can be scary but there are things we can do to limit its damage. The awesome docs here at In and Out Express Care are here when you need us. Stop in today to feel better fast!