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Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

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Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

What You Need to Know About Your Chances & Early Intervention

One in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. While the cause of breast cancer is unknown, certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing the disease. Knowing these potential signs can help you be more vigilant about your health and catch any possible problems early on.


The risk of breast cancer increases as you get older. Most diagnoses happen in females over age 50, but more women increasingly show symptoms earlier in life.

Family History

If you have a family member who has had breast cancer, you have an increased risk. This is especially true if your loved one received their diagnosis at a young age or multiple family members have had the disease.

Genetic Mutations

Certain genetic mutations, such as the BRCA gene, can increase your risk of breast cancer. These mutations usually pass from parent to child. However, genetic tests can often indicate whether you have the gene—giving you a clear indicator of if you've received it from your mother or father and your risk for passing it down to your biological children.

Dense Breast Tissue

Women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This is because dense tissue makes it more difficult to detect tumors on a mammogram.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat menopause can increase your risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if you take HRT for more than five years.

Certain Medications

Some medications, such as those commonly used for a variety of conditions, can actually increase your risk of developing the disease. Talk to your doctor about any possible side effects before starting a new medication.

Alcohol Use

The medical community has found a link between excessive alcohol consumption and an increased risk of breast cancer. If you drink alcohol, it's essential to do so in moderation.


Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing breast cancer, especially after menopause. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to reducing your risk.

Wrap Up: Risks for Breast Cancer

While these are the most common factors for breast cancer, it's important to remember that anyone can develop the disease—even men. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your personal risks and what you can do to reduce them.

Early detection is key to successful treatment, so don't forget to schedule regular mammograms starting at age forty. As always, if you have any concerns about your breast health, don't hesitate to contact your doctor.

At Northern Inyo Healthcare District, we are committed to providing quality healthcare in Bishop, California. For more information on our Rural Health Women’s Clinic, including mammograms, well-woman visits, and more, please contact us via our online form or call (760) 873-5811.