A breast cancer risk factor is anything that increases the chance of developing breast cancer. But having one or even several breast cancer risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll develop breast cancer. Most women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors. There are many variables that may impact your risk for developing breast cancer. Some of these include:


  • Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than men.
  • On average women over 60 are more likely to develop breast cancer.


  • Personal history. A personal history of breast conditions such as Lobular carcinoma in situ or atypical hyperplasia of the breast will increase your risk. A personal history of having breast cancer in one breast also increases your risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
  • Family history. A family history of breast cancer, especially if diagnosed at a young age can put you at a higher risk. A family history of many other kinds of cancer such as ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, or melanoma can also possibly increase your risk.
  • Inherited genes. Some inherited genetic changes may increase your breast cancer risk. Changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common inherited causes.

Body & lifestyle:

  • Fat tissue may increase estrogen levels, which can put you at an increased risk of developing breast cancer after menopause.
  • Menstrual cycle. Women who begin their period before the age of 12 or begin menopause after age 55 have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Women who give birth to their first child after age 30 may have an increased risk of breast cancer. Women who have never been pregnant also are at an increased risk.
  • Alcohol consumption. The regular use of alcohol is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Inactive lifestyle. Regular exercise may help reduce risk.


  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy. Women who take hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone have an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer decreases when women stop taking these medications.
  • Radiation exposure. Women who, before age 20 had radiation therapy to the chest area have a much higher risk for breast cancer.

Risk reduction for women who are at high risk may include increased imaging screening, lifestyle changes, preventative medications, or risk reduction surgery. Discuss the benefits and risks with your provider.

What’s My Breast Cancer Risk?

  • Complete this short questionnaire and your results will be calculated and “delivered” to your computer immediately after
  • Most people can complete this questionnaire in 5-10 minutes
  • After you get your results: If your 5 year risk of developing breast cancer is greater than 1.7% or your lifetime risk is greater than 20% it is recommended that you discuss this with your provider for possible further evaluation
  • Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool: National Cancer Institute

If you have questions, please feel free to contact the our office (715)847-2022