No one knows why some women get breast cancer, but there are a number of risk factors that women are either born with or can control by making lifestyle choices. Risks for developing breast cancer include:
- Age - the chance of getting breast cancer rises as a woman gets older
- Alcohol consumption
- Dense breasts
- Genes - women of family members diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer may wish to be tested for the presence of two genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) that greatly increase the chances of breast cancer.
- Menstruation - women who begin their menstrual period before the age of 12 or who go through menopause after the age of 55.
- Not having children or having your first child after age 35
- Obesity or being overweight
- Use of birth control pills
- Use of Hormone replacement therapy
Read on to learn more about what to look for and how to identify breast cancer. We'll cover the symptoms and signs of breast cancer in the next section.