Knowing the risk factors for breast cancer may help you take action to prevent the development of cancer diseases. About 12% of women develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
Breast cancer is a complex disease with no known single cause. Breast cancer research has linked the likelihood of developing breast cancer to a number of risk factors. Numerous risk factors have been found to increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer The common denominator for many of them is their effect on the level and duration of exposure to endogenous estrogen. A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the risk of developing of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices. A breast cancer risk factor is something that increases a person’s chance of developing breast cancer. Established risk factors are backed up by a body of research with conclusive evidence that is confirmed by different sources and studies. The research looks for factors that are seen more often in people who develop breast cancer than in those who do not. While a single research study is not enough to establish a risk factor, it may indicate an area that needs to be explored further.
Understanding Breast Cancer Risk Factors
There is no single cause of breast cancer – it results from a combination of different factors. Many things that affect your risk of breast cancer cannot be changed, such as your age, height and genetics. However, there are changes you can make to your lifestyle to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Having particular factors that increase your risk doesn’t mean that you will definitely get breast cancer. Conversely, not having many risk factors doesn’t mean that you won’t. Risk factors simply increase or decrease your chances of developing the disease. So, even if you have a factor that increases your risk and you are diagnosed with breast cancer, there’s no way of proving that the risk factor actually caused it.
Major Risk Factor of Breast Cancer
Factors that increase the risk of breast cancer include the following:
- Advanced Age – On average, women over 60 are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Only about 10 – 15 percent of breast cancers occur in women younger than 45. However, this may vary for different races or ethnicities.
- Family history of cancer in a first-degree relative – Family history of ovarian cancer at less than 50 years, 1 first-degree relative with breast cancer, ≥2 first-degree-relatives with breast cancer.
- Personal History – Positive BRCA1/BRCA2 mutation, breast biopsy with atypical hyperplasia, breast biopsy with lobular or ductal carcinoma in situ.
- Reproductive history – Early menarche (less than 12 years), late menopause, late age of first term pregnancy (Greater than30 years) or nulliparity.
- Use of estrogen-progesterone hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
- Current or recent oral contraceptive use.
- Lifestyle factors – Adult weight gain, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol consumption.
The Average of American woman’s risk of developing breast cancer
About 12% of women develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Each year in the United States, about 192,000 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and about 68,000 women are diagnosed with pre-invasive breast cancer. (Although breast cancer in men is rare, about 2,000 American men are diagnosed each year with invasive breast cancer.) About 40,000 American women die from breast cancer each year. Breast cancer death rates have declined significantly since the 1990s, especially for women younger than age 50. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the earlier the opportunity for treatment. In the United States, there are currently more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors.
Based on current incidence rates, 12.4 percent of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some time during their lives. This estimate, from the most recent Seer Cancer Statistics Review (a report published annually by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program), is based on breast cancer statistics for the years 2007 through 2009.This estimate means that, if the current incidence rate stays the same, a woman born today has about a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life. On the other hand, the chance that she will never have breast cancer is 87.6 percent, or about 7 in 8.In the 1970s, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States was just under 10 percent.
The Average of Canadian Woman’s Risk of Developing Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women and its cause is unknown. We truly believe that every dollar Canadians donate to research brings us one step closer to discovering the causes of breast cancer, better methods to prevent and detect it, treatments that are more effective and improving the quality of life for survivors. In 2014, According to an estimate, 24, 400 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,000 will die from it. Approximately 67 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day. Approximately 14 Canadian women will die of breast cancer every day. 1 in 9 women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime (age 90) and 1 in 29 will die from it. It is expected that 210 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 60 will die from it.
Risk Factors and Breast Cancer in India
Cancer is now the second leading cause of death in Indians after cardiovascular disease. Amongst women cervical cancer is still the most frequently diagnosed cancer but breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in urban Indian women. The reasons for the recent observed increase in incidence of breast cancer in the Indian population are not clearly understood but thought to be largely explained by ‘westernisation’ of lifestyles and changes in reproductive behaviour. By conducting a large scale multicentric case control study within India we hope to understand further the risks for breast cancer in this population which can then inform public health strategies to try and reduce the burden of disease. The Indian population also provides a unique opportunity to investigate the role of risk factors such as vegetarianism which are highly prevalent in this population group compared to the West.