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The following factors are being studied for its effect on increasing the susceptibility to breast. induced or spontaneous abortions, ovulation inducing fertility drugs, pesticides, environmental pollution, high voltage electric lines etc. There are contradicting results for these factors. The impact of these factors on causing breast cancer may be too small or indirect to be detected and proven.

Risk Factors of Breast Cancer

The exact causes of breast cancer are not known. Research studies of large numbers of ¬women suffering from breast cancer indicate that the following factors increase the risk of breast cancer.

  • The risk increases with age. It is common in women above 50 years of age and seldom observed in women less than 30 years of age.
  • Cancer of one breast increases the chances of cancer in the other breast.
  • The risk is more if one or more near relatives (mother or sister) have breast cancer. The risk increases if they had breast cancer before menopause, or cancer was in both the breasts.
  • If the first childbirth is after 30 years of age.
  • Women who have never conceived or breast-fed.
  • Women who attained menarche (onset of menstruation) before the age of 12 years and menopause after the age of 50 years.
  • Women in hereditary breast cancer family. Genetic mutation of BRCA 1 (long arm of chromosome 17) and BRCA 2 (chromosome 13) have high penetration to next generation. Detection of there gene mutation indicate high risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Hormon Replacement Therapy (HRT) after menopause is now considered to be a risk factor. Any current user of HRT or who has used HRT in last 1 to 4 years is at higher risk of developing breast cancer. HRT use of more than 5 years has 35% more risk of developing breast cancer. Combined estrogen-progestin pill user is at higher risk than estrogen alone pill user. The risk seems to come back to normal after stopping the usage for more than 5 years.
  • Oral contraceptive pills (OC) (“Pill”) was considered to be safe in context to incidence of breast cancer. However, current users are considered to be at greater risk of developing breast cancer. Among users, the age at first use modifies the risk. Among current users, woman who started using “Pill” before the age of 20, are at greater risk. The excess risk decline after cesaation of use of the “Pill.” The risk becomes normal after 10 years of cessation of “Pill.”
  • If the breast biopsy indicates "atypical hyperplasia." (abnormal growth of cells)
  • A diet rich in fats. Overweight woman.
  • A life-style, which is, fast, stressful, irregular and consist of an imbalance diet.


Breast cancer manifestation and behavior are extremely complex. It is not mandatory for women having these risk factors to get breast cancer. These factors exist only in 30% of the women having breast cancer. Please consult breast cancer counseling expert to know about your risk. Although the risk of breast cancer can not be eliminated, it can be reduced and breast cancer can be detected at much early stage.

Protection Against Breast Cancer

The following factors may be helpful in reducing the risk of breast cancer. There is no firm evidences to suggest that changing life style will decrease the risk of breast cancer. However ¬the following changes in life style will be helpful in many ways.

Life Style

  • Eat variety of seasonal food.
  • Eat more cereals, pulses, raw vegetables and fresh fruits, e.g. carrot, beet root, goose berry (Amla), spinach, fenugreek leaves (Methi), cauliflower etc.
  • Choose fat free diet.
  • Maintain body weight with regular exercise and balanced diet.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol.
  • Be alert and get mental peace through Yoga and Meditation.
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