1 in 8 women currently get breast cancer in their lifetime, which makes the risk of breast cancer in the general population 12.5%. There are many risk factors, some of which are modifiable and others which are non-modifiable or genetic. The major risk factors include the following:
- Age – Breast cancer is most common in postmenopausal women after the age of 60
- Family history of breast cancer in a mother, sister or daughter, especially if it occurred before the age of 50. Or family history of male breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
- Early age of onset of menstrual cycles (before age 10)
- Going through menopause later in life (after age 55)
- Late childbearing – The older the age a woman has her first child, the higher the risk of breast cancer.
- Usage of combination hormone replacement therapy in a postmenopausal woman for more than 5 years.
- Lack of physical activity – Studies are showing evidence to support physical exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer.
- Alcohol consumption –The American Cancer society recommends that women have no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day.