what are risk factors for breast cancer

What are risk factors for breast cancer ?

What are risk factors for breast cancer

There are personal factors that can influence the risk of breast cancer. But not everyone with a certain risk factor actually develops breast cancer. It’s always about an opportunity. Several factors together can increase the risk of breast cancer.

The following breast cancer risk factors have been scientifically proven:

Hereditary predisposition to breast cancer

Heredity plays a role in 5 to 10% of women with breast cancer. A hereditary predisposition means that you have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. You inherit this predisposition from one of your parents.

Breast cancer is common and usually has no hereditary cause. If one or two women have breast cancer in a family, the cause does not have to be a hereditary predisposition to breast cancer.

In some cases, however, a hereditary cause must be taken into account. For example, in breast cancer at a very young age (under 40 years) or breast cancer in both breasts. Do you meet any of the directions? Then you are eligible for a referral to a clinical geneticist.

Breast cancer has a hereditary cause if there is a congenital predisposition; a mutation in the hereditary material. Women with such a genetic predisposition have a much higher risk of developing breast cancer.

A mutation in these genes is known to increase the risk of breast cancer:

  • The BRCA1 gene and BRCA2 gene give women a 60 to 80% risk of breast cancer.
  • The ATM gene gives women a risk of breast cancer of 20 to 45%.
  • The CDH1 gene has a 40% risk of breast cancer in women.
  • The PALB2 gene gives women a risk of breast cancer of 30 to 60%.
  • CHEK2 gene: the risk of breast cancer with the CHEK2 gene depends, among other things, on how often breast cancer runs in the family.
  • TP53 gene: Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
  • PTEN gene: Cowden’s disease.
  • STK11 gene: Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS).

Not all hereditary causes of breast cancer are known yet. If no genetic predisposition is found, but many women in the family still have (or have had) breast cancer, this is called familial breast cancer.


Previous breast condition

15 to 20% of women who are cured of breast cancer develop a second breast cancer within 20 years. After breast cancer, there is therefore an increased risk of cancer in the other breast.

Some benign abnormalities can increase the risk of breast cancer. The checks in the hospital are adjusted accordingly.

Female Hormones: Estrogen and Progesterone

The longer the breasts are exposed to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, the greater the risk of breast cancer. Therefore, there is an increased risk of breast cancer for women who:

  • Had their first menstrual period at a young age (before the age of 12), especially in combination with a late menopause (after the age of 55)
  • Have few or no pregnancies
  • Having a first child after the age of 35
  • No or short breastfeeding
  • Taking the contraceptive pill
  • Being overweight
  • Using hormone preparations against menopausal symptoms
  • Being a DES mother and between 45 and 65 years old

Dense mammary tissue

Women with very dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer than women with normal mammary gland tissue. The breast tissue consists of mammary glands and adipose tissue. If you have more mammary glands and less fatty tissue, this is called dense mammary gland tissue.

General risk factors

In addition to these specific risk factors for breast cancer, there are also general risk factors for developing cancer.

Not scientifically proven

In recent years, a number of other possible causes of breast cancer have been investigated. The following factors have not been scientifically proven to contribute to the development of breast cancer.

Size of breasts

It is sometimes thought that women with large breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer. That is not correct: there is no relationship between breast size and breast cancer risk.


It is suggested that deodorant is harmful and can cause breast cancer. Specifically, it concerns the ingredients parabens and aluminum chlorohydrate.

No association has been established between applying these substances to the skin and the development of breast cancer. It is very unlikely that these substances can reach the breast tissue through the skin.

Parabens are less and less often an ingredient of personal care products.


Also, no link has been found between using sunscreen and breast cancer. It is unwise not to use it: sunscreen protects against skin cancer.

Underwire bras

Underwire bras are not a risk factor for breast cancer. These bras are sometimes not recommended after breast surgery, because they can hinder the drainage of the lymph.

What are risk factors for breast cancer is a complex question with a lot of answers and possible reasons why woman get breast cancer .

we created this website to make more woman aware of breast cancer and to take a good look on the way you life and what you can do to improve your way of living healthy wise .

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