Dear Women, did you know that urban lifestyle and habits are the major risk factors for breast cancer? Research & data from cancer registries has time and again indicated that Urban Indian women are at a much higher risk of compared to their rural counterparts.

Here is a list of known risk factors

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

These are the factors that you will not be able to influence or change. Therefore it is all the more important that you be aware of any of this applying to you

  1. AGE Risk increases with age. Breast Cancer is most commonly found in older women, more than 50 years of age.
  2. GENETIC MUTATION Mutated genes, such that BRCA1 & BRCA2 can be inherited. Having these mutations leads to many significant chances of having Breast Cancer.
  3. FAMILY HISTORY Having a mother, daughter, sister (first-degree relative) OR having multiple family members (mother’s side or father’s side) who have had breast cancer increases the chances significantly.
  4. HIGH HORMONE EXPOSURE Having a high exposure over a lifetime to estrogen or progesterone increases risk. Therefore women having early menstruation or late menopause have a higher risk.
  5. DENSE BREASTS Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.
  6. PREVIOUS HISTORY Women having non-cancerous breast disease like hyperplasia have a higher risk of breast cancer. Women having had breast cancer once are more likely to get breast cancer again.
  7. RADIATION EXPOSURE Women having undergone radiotherapy to the chest area for the treatment of any other cancer (Hodgkins Lymphoma) have a higher risk of breast cancer.

Modifiable Risk Factors Of Breast Cancer

These are risk factors which are in our hands. We can alter our lifestyle, behavior and therefore reduce these risks.

  1. OBESITY, WEIGHT Being overweight or obese adds to the risk of not just breast cancer but to 13 other types of cancers.
  2. LOW PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Moving around the house or taking a casual walk in the park is not enough activity. Significant exercise, brisk walk or sporting activity on a regular basis would need to reduce the risk.
  3. ALCOHOL & SMOKING More alcohol means more risk. Smoking leads to carcinogen exposure and therefore high cancer risk.
  4. AGE AT CHILDBIRTH Delayed childbirth (age > 30) contributes to breast cancer.
  5. PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING Not breastfeeding and never having a full-term can increase risk.
  6. BIRTH CONTROL PILLS Long term use of birth control pills raises the risk.
  7. HORMONE THERAPY Menopausal Hormone Therapy or Hormone Replacement Therapy is used to get relief from menopausal symptoms. Long term use increases risk.

Not everybody exposed to these factors necessarily gets breast cancer. This is because each person’s body responds differently to different triggers. It is important to be aware and take proactive steps to reduce the risk.

See this link to know the symptoms of breast cancer.

See: An overview of breast cancer

Upcoming: Breast Cancer Risk For Indian Women.


Read the following links for more detailed information:

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14 Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
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