Most Trusted
Breast Cancer Resource
Risk Factors

Risk Factors

What is a risk factor?

Although we don’t know exactly what causes breast cancer, we do know risk factors for developing the disease.
A risk factor is not a guarantee that a person will develop breast cancer, but increases the chances of getting breast cancer.

Risk factors for breast cancer include:

Being born female
Increasing in age
Family history of breast cancer (maternal or paternal)
Personal history of breast cancer
Mutation of BRCA1, BRCA2
Having dense breast tissue
Radiation therapy for another cancer
No children or first child after age 30
Started monthly periods before age 12
Late menopause (after age 55)
Smoking/exposure to second-hand smoke
Being overweight or obese
Use of hormone replacement therapy
Use of hormone birth control

Living a healthy lifestyle may help decrease your risk of developing breast cancer.

Maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes totaling at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Don’t drink. Limit alcohol intake, have no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
Breastfeed your children. Breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months or more reduces your breast cancer risk.
Talk to your doctor about alternatives to hormone replacement therapy.


Additional Resources: