Can having children increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer? Turns out, it can — but it depends on the age that a woman is when she has her first child.
“Often what we’ve seen over the past several decades is waiting to have children,” Dr. Jay Harness says in this video. “And, obviously, later in life being married. This is very, very common. Women want to have careers, they want to have a life, they want to do things that are meaningful. And they’re always thinking in the back of their mind, ‘Well, my biological clock is ticking.’ But we do know that also ticking is the increased risk for breast cancer.”
There are several risk factors for breast cancer; some risks you can prevent or manage (like limiting your drinking and eating a healthy diet), and sometimes you can do everything “right” and still get the disease. But why does the age you were when you had your first child increase your risk? And what age is the tipping point for increasing that risk?
While there are still no definite answers as to why, studies have seen women who have their first child after the age of 35 have a slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer.
More and more women are having children later in life and some turn to in vitro fertilization, which also carries some risks. Dr. Harness shared his thoughts, “I must share with you candidly, that I worry about those women a lot.”
He advises women to be diligent about self-exams and regular screening.
Watch the video below to learn more.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.