Cancer-Free -- Third Edition.
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Risk factors are health concerns or issues that increase the likelihood that you may develop a particular illness. Cancer is a disease that is varied in terms of risk factors and each different kind of cancer carries it's own unique criterion of risk. Some risk factors are inherited and cannot be controlled while some are caused by our behavior and lifestyle choices.
The risk factors for breast cancer change as a person ages. This kind of cancer is most likely to strike women, although men too, can develop it. As you age, your risk increases as well and invasive forms of the disease are more common in women over the age of 55.
Breast cancer that has a hereditary origin has been found to have a genetic component and these mutations are most often found in women of Eastern European ethnicity. The risk is also increased based on the number of blood relatives who have had this type of cancer.
Women who have previously had the disease are at higher risk of it recurring. Additionally, women who have dense breast tissue and certain types of breast lesions also have a higher risk. Other risk factors include exposure to radiation, DES exposure (a drug used to prevent miscarriages), early onset of menstruation and late onset of menopause.
Among the behaviors that can be controlled to some extent that increase risk of breast cancer are the use of hormone replacement therapy, recent use (within the previous 10 years) of birth control pills and not having children. Obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating and lack of physical activity also increase your risk of breast cancer.
Several other factors, such as night shift work and exposure to secondhand smoke have been suggested as possibly increasing the risk of breast cancer, however more research is needed before a determination is made. Keep in mind that a risk factor is simply an increased likelihood and not a confirmation that someone will develop breast cancer.
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