Breast Cancer and Risk Factors

Breast cancer is the most common diagnosed cancer among women in the world. There are some breast cancer risk factors that can’t be changed such as being a female and genetic predisposition. There are some factors that you can change by adopting healthy diet and lifestyle. 



Both men and women can suffer from breast cancer, however women have the highest risk for developing breast cancer. This is due to the presence of two hormones, estrogen and progesterone that responsible for the development of breast cancer cells.


The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancer are diagnosed after the age of 50 and above.


Inherited mutation of genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of developing breast cancer. In normal cells, BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes protect you from getting certain types of cancers. However, mutation of these genes prevents them from working properly.

Family History

If you had one first-degree female relatives (mother, sister, daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk doubled. If you had two first degree female relatives been diagnosed, you risk is 5 times higher than normal. If your father or brother diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk is higher too.

Personal history

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer at second time in the other breast or another part of the same breast.


Women who have early menstruation at the age before 12 years old and menopause after 55 years old are more likely to develop breast cancer. This is due to longer exposure of female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone during their lifetime.


White women are more likely to get breast cancer than Asian, Hispanic and native-American women. However, black women are more likely to die from breast cancer.

Dense Breast

Women with dense breast tend to have breast cancer. Dense breast has more connective tissues and make it harder for mammograms to detect a breast cancer.



Good nutrition may reduce the incidence of breast cancer. Good nutrition means having plenty of fruits and vegetables, high fiber, good quality protein, low fat but emphasize on healthy fats, limits intake of red meat, processed food and sugar and last but not least sufficient intake of fluid. The presence of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables could be the key in reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Body weight

Overweight and obese women are more likely diagnosed with breast cancer, especially after menopause. Overweight and obese women have more fat cells which make estrogen and high insulin levels. Estrogen and insulin are connected to increased breast cancer risk.

Lacking of exercise

Physical activity and exercise decrease the risk for breast cancer. This could be due to exercise stabilize insulin level and maintain healthy body weight.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Not having child or having child after 30 years old increase breast cancer risk. Pregnancy reduces total number of menstrual cycle lifetimes, which maybe the reason early pregnancy has a protective effect. Breastfeeding has been shown to lower risk of developing breast cancer. Beside lowering your risk of breast cancer, breastfeeding provides your child with antibodies which found in breast milk.


The risk increases with the amount they consumed. The higher alcohol consumption, the higher risk of breast cancer. All alcohol count includes beer, wine and liquor.

Birth control pills/Hormone therapy replacement

Women who take oral contraceptive pills are at a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer. Hormone therapy replacement which is estrogen and progesterone used to ease the symptoms of menopausal women also increase of risk of getting breast cancer.