Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Men and women of many ages are susceptible to breast cancer. There are certain risk factors however, that make a person more likely to contract the disease. If the following risk factors apply to you, you may want to get screened for breast cancer:

Dense breasts
People with dense breasts are less likely to notice a lump forming because of the way their breasts naturally feel. It is also more difficult to spot cancerous areas in a mammogram when you have dense breasts. Be sure to ask your doctor if your breasts are dense. Many physicians will take additional images during a mammogram for such patients.

If you have an immediate relative that had breast cancer, your chances of developing the disease go up. The relative can be male or female, and if they were diagnosed before age 50 your risk is slightly higher. 

If you have had breast cancer in the past, you are more likely to develop the disease than women who have never had the disease.

Menstrual age and reproductive history
If you had your period for the first time before age twelve or went into menopause after age 55, you have an increased risk of developing the disease. Women who have never had a full-term pregnancy or who become pregnant after age 30 are also at an elevated risk of having breast cancer.

The likelihood that a women will develop breast cancer goes up as she ages. It is the strongest risk factor for the disease. That is why it is important for women to get annual mammograms and to do breast self exams every month. If you notice anything out of the ordinary like a bump or breast tenderness, be sure to head to a doctor right away. Early detection is the best way to prevent breast cancer from progressing.

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