What are causes of Breast cancer / Risk factors

Each year more than 190,000 Women and Men are diagnosed with Breast cancer.

No one knows if or when breast cancer will develop.But understanding Risk factors for Breast cancer may help you take preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of developing the disease

Non - Modifiable Risk factors: Genetic causes of breast cancer

Being women is most significant risk factors for Breast cancer.Women have 100% more risk factor for Breast cancer than Men do.

Here are some of the Risk factors for Breast cancer.


On an average women aged over 60 years are more likely to be diagnosed with Breast cancer. Only about 10-15% of Breast cancer occur in women younger than 45.Again this depends on Race and ethnicity. In last decade,because of change in lifestyle and environment,the number of young Breast cancer is increasing.

Family history:

Having family history of Breast cancer,particularly women with a mother,sister,or daughter, may double the risk. If a women has two or more of First degree relatives with Breast cancer,her risk of developing the disease increases three fold. Up to 10% of all cases of Breast cancer are hereditary

Genetic/Inherited factor:

Hereditary Breast cancer constitutes 5-10% of all breast cancer.Mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common inherited causes. BRCA mutated patients also have a 20-30% lifetime risk of Ovarian cancer. There are other genes like p53, PTEN,ATM, which can lead to hereditary breast cancer.

Menstrual History:

Early menarche and Late menopause are important risk factors for breast cancer. Women who attain menarche before the age of 12 and women who attain menopause after age of 55 are at the higher risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.Exposure to Hormone replacement therapies(HRT) after menopause can also increase the risk of Breast cancer.

Previous Breast changes/Breast abnormality:

Patients with high Breast density are at 2-4 times higher risk of developing Breast cancer.

Previous Breast changes of having Benign Breast Cancer can also increases chances of developing Breast cancer.

Modifiable risk factors: Environmental and lifestyle cause of Breast cancer

Sedentary life style/ Obesity:

People with no physical activity are at increased risk of Breast cancer. 4 to 7 hours of moderate exercise also have suggested to reduce the risk of Breast cancer.

Alcohol consumption/Heavy drinking & Smoking:

Use of Alcohol is linked to an increased risk of developing Breast cancer. This risk is seen to increase with more significant proportion of daily alcohol intake.

Young and Pre-menopausal women who smoke are at a higher risk of developing Breast cancer 


Women who do not get pregnant at all(nulliparous)and who get pregnant after 30


Women who have Breastfed their babies for one year or more are at a lower risk of developing breast cancer.


  • Eating processed food with preservatives
  • Eating grilled food
  • High exposure to plastics – bisphenol A(BPA), may act as carcinogens.

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