Breast cancer is really hard to go through, and it is really hard to watch someone you love go through it, it’s a life-changing experience for both sides of the equation. Anyway, Being diagnosed with this disease today is no longer a death sentence. However, you have to overcome your meaningless fear because the only thing you have to fear is fear itself. It is a mind killer that will only paralyze you and hold from finishing your journey with breast cancer.
It is important to know that breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast begin to grow abnormally, dividing uncontrollably and building up into a mass that usually is detected as a hard lump. But the precise causes that trigger breast cancer are still unclear, but luckily, we do know the main risk factors.
The risk factors are classified into two categories: lifestyle and genetic. “When we think about breast cancer, we try to break it down into things you can and can’t change,” says Megan Kruse, MD, an oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and assistant professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. “There are risk factors you’re born with and then there are others that you can actually do something about.”
Know this: just because you have one or more breast cancer risk factors, that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll develop it. In fact, Many women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors other than simply being women. in the light of the above, here are the biggest breast cancer risk factors to know.
1 Drinking alcohol
The earlier in your life you start to lessen your drinking, the better. According to the American Cancer Society, women who tend to drink two or three drinks regularly have a 20 % higher risk of getting breast cancer compared to women who don’t drink. Thus, Cutting down your regular drinking is the perfect way to keep your risk at a lower level.
2 Being overweight or obese
“Obesity is a risk factor, particularly among postmenopausal women,” indicates Dr. Kruse. After menopause, the ovaries stop making estrogen, so most of the hormone comes from fat tissue— Having too much fat tissue can increase your chance of developing breast cancer by raising estrogen levels. Besides, obese women usually have higher blood insulin levels, which have been linked to breast cancer.
“The closer a woman is to her ideal body weight, the less risk she has of getting breast cancer,” reveals Dr. Kruse.
3 Not exercising
It is important to know that physical activity prevents the cancer from invading your body, in fact physically active women have a lower risk of getting breast cancer, especially postmenopausal women. Though how much activity you need is unclear, some studies have shown that just few hours a week of exercise may be useful. (but more is probably better).
4 Having kids later in life
“We see a slightly increased risk of breast cancer among women who have either never had a child or had their children after the age of 30,” notes Dr. Kruse. As a matter of a fact, it appears that these women have been exposed to more estrogen over their lifetime, which is one of the main hormones promoting breast cancer growth. additionally, the effect of pregnancy is associated with the type of breast cancer you have. For example, having a type of breast cancer called triple-negative seems to increase risk.
5 Not breastfeeding
Some theories indicate that breastfeeding makes breast cells more resistant to mutations that can cause cancer. especially if it’s done for one and a half to two years. This may be because breastfeeding lowers a woman’s total number of lifetime menstrual cycles.
6 Taking hormonal birth control
Studies have discovered a weak link between birth control and breast cancer. Actually, Hormonal birth control whether it comes as pills, injections, a ring, or an implant may slightly raise your breast cancer risk.
7 Being a woman
“Since breast cancer is hormonally-driven cancer, it typically needs estrogen in order to grow simply being a woman is probably the biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer, says Jennifer Specht, MD , an oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and an associate member of the clinical research division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Anyhow, this may sound weird, but it is a scientifically proven fact. Women are much more likely than men are to develop breast cancer.
8 Getting older
Your risk of developing breast cancer increases as your age. Typically ,55 years old women and older are the most diagnosed with this deadly disease.
9 Having certain inherited genes
It is estimated that about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are related to gene mutations passed on from generations to generations. In fact, the most well-known cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
10 Having a family history of breast cancer
If one of your relatives (mother, sister or daughter) was diagnosed with breast cancer, especially at a young age, your risk of developing breast cancer is increased. Still, according to the American Cancer Society, most women (about 8 out of 10) who get breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.
11 Having breast cancer in the past
If you’re a breast cancer survivor, you have a high risk of getting new cancer in the same area or in another breast. besides, this risk is way higher for younger women with breast cancer.
12 Dense breast tissue
Dense breasts are automatically linked to an increased overall risk of breast cancer. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, women with “dense breasts” are 1.5 to 2 times to get breast cancer than women with average breast density. If a mammogram shows you have more glandular and fibrous tissue and less fatty tissue, You’re one of these women.
13 Going through menopause after 55
if you began menopause after the age of 55, you’re more likely to develop breast cancer. Due to the fact that you have been exposed to more estrogen and progesterone in your lifetime, which are the main hormones enhancing breast cancer growth
14 Having radiation to your chest as a kid
“Being treated for a childhood cancer with radiation to the chest significantly increases the risk of developing breast cancer later in life,” says Dr. Specht. In fact, receiving radiotherapy as a teen or young adult increases your risk of getting breast cancer at some point in your life. And that’s because your breast at this period is certainly still developing.
15 Getting your period early
Women who started menstruating before the age of 12 have a higher risk of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives. They’ve had more menstrual cycles which again prolongs their exposure to estrogen and progesterone, increasing their risk.