Risk factors

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Age greater than 50 years

Age greater than 30 at first

Prior history of breast can

birth

cer

Obesity

Family history

High socioeconomic sta-

Early menarche, before

tus

age 12

Atypical hyperplasia on

Late menopause, after

biopsy

age 50

Ionizing radiation expo-

Nulliparity

sure

A. Family history is highly significant in a first-degree relative (ie, mother, sister, daughter), especially if the cancer has been diagnosed premenopausally. Women who have premenopausal first-degree relatives with breast cancer have a three- to fourfold increased risk of breast cancer. Having several second-degree relatives with breast cancer may further increase the risk of breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors.

B. Approximately 8 percent of all cases of breast cancer are hereditary. About one-half of these cases are attributed to mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Hereditary breast cancer commonly occurs in premenopausal women. Screening tests are available that detect BRCA mutations.

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