June 9, 2006, Newsletter Issue #20: Non-Preventable Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Tip of the Week

What causes breast cancer? There are some risk factors for breast cancer that cannot be prevented by lifestyle changes. These risk factors include experiencing an early menstrual period or entering menopause a later age than the average woman. Age plays an important factor in developing breast cancer, as someone over 50 years of age, would be more likely to be diagnosed. Even though it is possible for a man to be diagnosed with breast cancer, it is more common in women. Within the last decade, it has been shown that genetics and family history have played an important risk factor in developing breast cancer. Women with mutations in the BRCA genes, or blood relative such as mother, daughter, or sister who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, are at risk for developing breast cancer. The risk also seems to be greater for Caucasians rather than for people of African American, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American descent. Breast cancer risk increases with age. You cannot change these risks factors if they affect you, but knowing them should make you more diligent about getting the appropriate screening and consultation for breast cancer. What causes breast cancer? No one knows all the answers but there are certainly many ways to prevent it.

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