Causes of Breast CancerMost breast cancer causes are unknown. In 5 to 10 percent of these cases, there is a hereditary component.
(Click Breast Cancer and Genetics, Breast Cancer Screening, or Breast Cancer Gene for more information.)
Risk Factors for Breast CancerAnything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Breast cancer risk factors include:
- Older age
- Early menarche (menstruation)
- Older age at first birth or never having given birth
- A personal history of breast cancer or benign (noncancerous) 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
- Hormone use (such as estrogen and progesterone)
- Excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages
- Being Caucasian.
(Click Breast Cancer Risk Factors for more information.)
Symptoms of Breast CancerNot everyone with breast cancer will have early symptoms of the disease. That is why screening is so important. It can help doctors find and treat cancer early. Also, treatment is more likely to work well when the disease is found early.
(Click Breast Cancer Symptoms for more information.)
Diagnosing Breast CancerIf a woman has possible symptoms of breast cancer, her healthcare provider will ask a number of questions and perform a physical exam looking for signs of the disease. He or she may also recommend certain tests or procedures, including:
- Fine-needle aspiration.