Here’s the list of risk factors associated with breast cancer that you can change, but also there are many other factors that you can’t control.
- Overweight – Overweight and obese women have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than those who maintain a healthy weight. Also, being an overweight or obese woman that already survived breast cancer, you have higher chances for cancer recurrence, meaning cancer coming back. Overweight or obese women are those having a BMI higher than 25. The reason why being overweight or obese increases your risk is because fat cells produce more and extra estrogen.
- Breastfeeding – Lack of breastfeeding history is a risk factor. On the other hand, women with a positive history of breastfeeding in the past, for more than a year, have a lower risk of experiencing breast cancer. This is the result of less estrogen production and a better lifestyle during breastfeeding. Women who breastfed in the past, but for less than a year, have a lower risk too.
- Alcohol – Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Alcohol consumption increases your risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. The mechanism by which alcohol increases your breast cancer risk is higher estrogen levels and potential DNA damage by the alcohol compounds.
- Physical inactivity – Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer compared to those that exercise regularly. Moreover, intense or moderate physical exercise for a couple of hours per week can significantly lower your risk of having breast cancer. The mechanism by which it protects you from breast cancer is by lowering your blood glucose and insulin levels.
- Pregnancy – Women who have not had children until age 30 but after it, have an increased risk of having breast cancer when compared to those who have had children before age 30. Not having had a full-term pregnancy is a risk factor too. Pregnancy changes some cells in your body in a protective way, against breast cancer.
- Hormones – Some hormone replacement therapies (HRT) during menopause can increase your risk of breast cancer. Since this was clear, the usage of HRTs by menopausal and post-menopausal women has dropped dramatically. Women of that category used to receive various types of HRTs to ease their menopausal symptoms.