Primary prevention of breast cancer is dependent on many aspects, but the most effective is an early diagnosis. Also, knowing about breast cancer risk factors is the first step towards both diagnosing and preventing advanced breast cancer.
A risk factor is something that can increase a person's chances of getting a particular disease. Multiple breast cancer risk factors have been identified, and they can increase the risk of breast cancer. Certain breast cancer risk factors are beyond a person's control, such as genetics, age, and family history, but there are some that can be easily controlled. It is possible to regulate the risk of breast cancer by modifying controllable or lifestyle-related risk factors.
Here are some risk factors that are not in an individual's control and cannot be avoided easily. However, understanding these risk factors can be the best way to understand how to avoid breast cancer to some extent.
One of the major breast risk factors is increasing age. Multiple studies have reported that breast cancer is more prevalent among women who are over the age of 50 and men who are over 60 years of age.
Genetic mutations are known as one of the major female breast cancer risk factors. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the two genes related to breast cancer in hereditary lines. Mutations in these genes can increase breast cancer risk.
Reproductive history is also related to female breast cancer risk factors. Girls who start their menstrual cycle before the age of 12 and women who get their menopause after the age of 55 are more prone to breast carcinoma, as they are exposed to estrogen for a longer period of time.
Having dense breasts is also regarded as a major risk factor for breast carcinoma. The reason is that dense breasts have more connectivity tissues as compared to fatty tissues, which makes it difficult for the physician to see these cancerous cells on the mammogram.
Another important breast cancer risk factor is the personal history of breast diseases. Women who have suffered from breast diseases in the past are more likely to get them again. Also, some diseases, such as lobular carcinoma in situ or atypical ductal hyperplasia, increase a person's chances of getting cancer.
A female patient's chances of suffering from breast carcinoma increase significantly if she has a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Thus, experts advise such women to go for regular checkups for effective prevention of breast cancer.
Patients who have undergone radiation therapy also have an increased risk of getting breast cancer.
Women in the past were administered the drug diethylstilbestrol to prevent miscarriage, which increased their chances of getting breast cancer.
Here are some risk factors that are within an individual's control and can help in the potential prevention of breast cancer.
Multiple studies have revealed a link between not being physically active, obesity, and breast cancer. The reason is that when a person exercises, his blood levels of insulin and blood sugar both remain under control. Insulin has a major effect on the growth of breast cancer cells.
Another major risk factor for the growth of breast cancerous cells is being overweight or having weight gain after menopause.
An individual undergoing hormone replacement therapy with hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can also have an increased risk for the disease.
Women who undergo pregnancy after the age of 30, do not breastfeed, and do not have a full-term pregnancy are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
Consumption of excess alcohol also increases a person's risk of getting breast cancer. Thus, doctors advise limiting one's alcohol intake to prevent breast cancer.
Women who have been using oral contraceptives or birth control pills have a relatively modest risk of developing breast cancer as compared to women who have never used them.
Here are some effective steps to follow when seeking an answer for how to prevent breast cancer or how to avoid breast cancer. As risk factors and prevention for breast cancer go hand in hand, keeping a check on the risk factors also helps significantly in reducing one’s breast cancer risk.
Doctors often advise maintaining a healthy weight as a preventive measure for breast cancer. The reason is that excess fat tissue in the body is linked to higher chances of getting breast cancer. Also, being overweight can lead to an excess of insulin hormone in the body, a hormone related to breast cancer growth.
It is advised to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes to prevent the growth of breast cancer cells in the body. Being physically active helps keep weight in check and prevents the growth of fat tissues.
Consuming fruits and vegetables is imperative, as they contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in the level of estrogen in the body, which can eventually lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Smoking not only increases your risk of breast cancer but can lead to 15 different types of cancer.
There are multiple studies that indicate that breastfeeding your baby can greatly prevent breast cancer.
Birth control pills, if taken at a higher age of more than 35 years, increase your risk of breast cancer. Therefore, it is better to reduce the intake of birth control pills and talk to the doctor about alternate contraception methods.
Hormone therapy for menopause has its advantages, but taking hormones can also increase the risk of breast cancer. The reason is that estrogen, when combined with progestin, increases the risk of breast cancer.Therefore, consider talking to the doctor about alternate measures to manage the menopause symptoms.
Many studies have proven that a combination of different risk factors increases the risk of breast cancer. However, the main factor that poses a high risk for breast cancer is increasing age, especially for women who are over 50 and have undergone menopause. Also, females who have a family history of breast cancer are at higher risk.
Therefore, it is important for these women to follow appropriate preventive measures to bring down their breast cancer risk and opt for regular breast cancer screening.
Knowing about breast cancer risk factors helps tremendously in designing an effective line of treatment. However, having these risk factors does not mean that the person has or will get breast cancer, but it surely increases the chances. Thus, if the patient has any of the risk factors mentioned above, it is advisable to visit the oncologist.