Breast Cancer risk
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These are indicators only and how they interact
is difficult to predict. Women can do all the rights things and still get breast
cancer. Likewise, women can do all the wrong things and never get the disease.
Family history: A woman with a mother, sister or daughter with breast
cancer has around double the risk of getting it herself than a woman with no
Obesity: Being overweight or obese is thought to increases the risk of
postmenopausal breast cancer by up to 30%, because excess body fat raises levels
of hormones such as oestrogen and insulin - common features of cancers.
Age: the older the woman, the higher her risk. Women aged 50-69 are most
at risk, particularly those who have a late menopause.
Childbirth: The younger a woman has children, the lower her risk. Having
children at all cuts the risk, as does breastfeeding.
Lifestyle: regular physical exercise and a healthy diet helps reduce the
risk by cutting dangerous fatty body tissues. Smoking is not advised.
HRT: women using hormone replacement therapy have a 66% increased risk of
breast cancer but the risk is temporary, returning to that of a never-user
within five years of stopping.
Oral contraceptives: they increase risk by around a quarter but since
users are generally younger women, their risk is relatively low.
Alcohol: drinking as little as one alcoholic drink per day increases
breast cancer risk by around 12%
Source: Cancer Research UK