Breast Cancer Causes

Know the Risk Factors

While breast cancer risk factors are not specific breast cancer causes, they can increase the likelihood that a woman will get breast cancer.
Risk factors for breast cancer include the following:
  • Older age
  • Menstruating at an early age
  • Older age at first birth or never having given birth
  • A personal history of breast cancer or benign (non-cancerous) breast disease
  • A mother or sister with breast cancer
  • Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest
  • Breast tissue that is dense on a mammogram
  • Taking hormones such as estrogen and progesterone
  • Excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages
  • Being white.
(Click Breast Cancer Risk Factors for more information on specific breast cancer risk factors.)

What Else Is Known About the Causes of Breast Cancer?

While all the breast cancer causes are not known, there is a lot that is known. Some things that are known about breast cancer causes include the following:
  • Breast cancer is not caused by stress or by an injury to the breast.
  • You cannot "catch" breast cancer from other women who have the disease. It is not contagious.
  • You should not feel guilty. You haven't done anything wrong in your life that caused breast cancer.
  • Most women who develop breast cancer do not have any known risk factors or a history of the disease in their families.
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Information on Breast Cancer

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