Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Researchers have long suspected there is a link between the size of female babies and the risk of breast cancer later in life. Now, a new British study concludes women who were bigger and longer newborns have a greater chance of developing breast cancer. Scientists say the link is fairly small but perceptible, accounting for five per cent of breast cancer cases in women up to 80 years old.

Like some other risk factors, there’s nothing women can do about birth size. Women have no say in their genetics, family history, race and age as they assess their breast cancer risk.

There are lifestyle choices, however, that may increase women’s chances for developing breast cancer. Among those risks: recent use of birth control pills, excessive alcohol consumption, obesity and lack of exercise. Childless women and those who have their first baby after the age of 30 are also slightly more at risk.

The risk of breast cancer needs to be put in perspective. Having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean a woman is bound to confront the disease. A woman free of risk factors has no guarantee she will not develop breast cancer. Through self-examination and regular check-ups, most women can help with early detection, regardless of their risk factors for developing the disease.