While the cause of breast cancer is not known at present, there are many risk factors for women to consider.
- The number of lifetime menstrual cycles—being young when menstruation begins and/or going through late menopause
- Never giving birth or giving birth at a later age; not breastfeeding
- Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy
- Family history of breast cancer (mother, sister, daughter)
- Genetic mutations in the breast cancer related genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2
- Radiation treatment to the breast/chest
- Getting older
- Drinking more than 1 alcoholic drink each day
- Lack of regular exercise
- Weight management challenges—overweight women are at increased risk for post-menopausal breast cancer
To learn more about your personal risk of breast cancer, take a risk assessment offered by the National Cancer Institute.
There also is a link between breast cancer and ovarian cancer. More information can be found in the Risk Awareness section of our web site.