Friday, November 28, 2014
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Risk factors: A look at what increases the chance of getting breast cancer

Senior woman with barbells

Smiling senior fitness woman with barbells

Some of the factors that make you more or less likely to get breast cancer are out of your control.

For example, while men can get breast cancer, women are 100 times more likely to get it. Some people are genetically more likely to get breast cancer, and family history can also play a role — all things that a person has no control over.

Other factors, though, are affected by lifestyle choices. Here’s a look at a few of the things that can influence a person’s likelihood to develop breast cancer according to the American Cancer Society.

EXERCISE

Recent studies are showing a link between physical activity and breast cancer rates. People who work out more seem to have a lower chance of getting the disease.

How much exercise is required? A Women’s Health Initiative study showed breast cancer risk could be reduced 18 percent by walking two and a half hours a week.

The American Cancer Society suggests being active 45 minutes to an hour at least five days a week to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

ALCOHOL

Studies show a correlation between drinking alcohol and getting breast cancer.

While women who have just one drink a day show a very slight increase in risk, people who have two to five drinks per day show a bigger increase in risk. They’re roughly one and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, studies suggest.

BREAST-FEEDING

As if there weren’t enough research about the benefits of breast-feeding, here’s a new one: it may decrease chances of getting breast cancer.

Researchers aren’t sure why there is a connection, but it seems strongest in women who breastfeed continually for 18 months to two years, something rare in the United States.

CHILDREN

Multiple pregnancies and having children at a younger age can reduce breast cancer risk. Women without children or who undergo childbirth after age 30 have a slightly higher chance of getting breast cancer.

OBESITY

Women who are overweight, especially after menopause, are shown to have an increased risk for developing breast cancer.

When women are obese after menopause, their fat tissue releases a small amount of estrogen, which can be a risk factor for breast cancer. In addition, many overweight women will have more insulin in their blood, which has been linked to breast cancer, the studies show.

Daily Republic Syndicated Content

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