While both men and women can develop breast cancer, the disease is most common in women.

The two most common risk factors are gender and age, which cannot be changed.

The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer are 50 years of age or older. Other factors that may increase your risk for breast cancer include:

  • Family history plays a role in a person’s risk, and is directly tied to how close the relations are.

First-degree (parent, child, sibling) relations can as much as double a person’s risk, while second-degree (grandparent, aunt, niece) relations present little to no correlation.

In all, only about 15% of all breast cancer patients have a noted family history of breast cancer.

  • Genetics play a role in risk via mutations in specific cell DNA that predispose for cancer development.

These mutations are inherited, and the two most common are the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

  • Medical conditions such as prior cancers, advanced maternal age pregnancy, excess weight, and increased exposure to estrogen, particularly after the age of 50.
  • Lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking alcohol, and being sedentary can contribute to your risk.
  • Ethnicity can play a role.

In the US, Caucasian, Hawaiian, and African American women have the highest rates of breast cancer. The lowest rates occur among Korean, American Indian, and Vietnamese women.

Breast Surgery Specialists in Charleston, SC

Richmond Surgical offers genetic counseling services that can help you better understand your risk factors and ways to help prevent or detect breast cancer markers early.

Call us at (804) 285-9416 to meet with Susan Uhle, RN, MSN, CNP , and discuss what you can learn, what you can change, and how we can help.