Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2018: Are You More Prone to Breast Cancer? Here Are a Few Associated Risk Factors
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2018: Are You More Prone to Breast Cancer? Here Are a Few Associated Risk Factors. (Photo Credit: Flickr)

India's burden of breast cancer is only increasing and unfortunately, this type of cancer is becoming more common among the younger women population in our country. Moreover, India continues to have a low survival rate for breast cancer with less than 60 per cent of women suffering from breast cancer are surviving. The Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology describes, "Breast cancer has ranked number one cancer among Indian females with an age-adjusted rate as high as 25.8 per 100,000 women and mortality 12.7 per 100,000 women. Data reports from various latest national cancer registries were compared for incidence, mortality rates. The age-adjusted incidence rate of carcinoma of the breast was found as high as 41 per 100,000 women for Delhi, followed by Chennai (37.9), Bangalore (34.4) and Thiruvananthapuram District (33.7). A statistically significant increase in age-adjusted rate over time (1982–2014) in all the PBCRs namely Bangalore (annual percentage change: 2.84%), Barshi (1.87%), Bhopal (2.00%), Chennai (2.44%), Delhi (1.44%) and Mumbai (1.42%) was observed."  Breast Cancer Early Detection & Diagnosis: Easy Methods to Identify the Disease. 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month observed every year in the month of October to generate awareness regarding this fatal diseases and while the statistics are horrifying there are a few things you can do to prevent breast cancer. One contracts breast cancer due to a combination of factors and it is important for you to understand the risk factors associated and who are more prone to contract breast cancer. However, you must also know that there are a few things that put you under the risk of breast cancer and there isn't much you can do about it. Vitamin D May Reduce Cancer Risk, Breast Cancer Mortality.

Here are a few points that make you more prone to breast cancer according to a study, Risk Factors and Preventions of Breast Cancer. 

  • Your age- Beyond your controls, your age is one of the major risk factors related to breast cancer. Along with your age, the risk of breast cancer increases as well. For example, most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.
  • Your reproductive history- It is claimed that women who have their menstrual cycle before the age of 12 and start their menopause after the age of 55 have an increased risk of having breast cancer since they are exposed to hormones longer.
  • Genetic mutations- Some women have inherited mutations to certain genes, such women are at a higher risk of breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer.

    Being heavy breasted- Women with heavy or dense breasts are more at the risk of having breast cancers as they have more connective tissue than fatty tissue. It becomes difficult to check for lumps or tumours on mammograms.

  • History of breast cancer - Women having a history of breast cancers or even other non-cancerous breast conditions such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ are more at the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer in the family history- You may be at a higher risk of suffering from breast cancer if someone else in your primary relatives/family members have it. The immediate family members from both the mother’s or father’s side who has had breast cancer may increase your risk as well.
  • Radiation therapy- One can increase the risk of breast cancer they have undergone radiation therapy to the chest or breasts before. For example treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma before age 30 can put you under the risk.
  • Use of the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES)- This drug that was earlier used to be given to the pregnant women in the US to prevent miscarriages can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Risk factors that you may be able to control

  • Sedentary lifestyle- Being physically active can help cut the risk of breast cancer whereas the women who aren't may have a higher risk.
  • Obesity after menopause- You must control your weight even after menopause to decrease the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Reproductive history. It is said that women who have the first pregnancy after age 30 are more at the risk of breast cancer. Not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy could sometimes be one of the reasons that may put you at the risk of breast cancer.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: Undergoing hormonal therapies may put you at the risk of breast cancer. Usually, the ones that include both estrogen and progesterone for more than five years may put you at the risk
  • Certain oral contraceptives- Certain kinds of birth control pills also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
  • Alcohol- Women increase their risk of breast cancer when they begin to consume too much alcohol. Alcohol is any way injurious to health irrespective of the gender.

As WHO says, 'Early detection in order to improve breast cancer outcome and survival remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control,' therefore it is important that you know How To Check Your Breasts For Lumps.