Know the Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes breast cancer, but here are five things that can increase your risk.

woman and daughter

Being a Woman

Being a woman is the biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer. Although men can develop breast cancer, less than 1 percent of all new breast cancer cases occur in men. 


Your risk of breast cancer goes up as you age. Nearly 67 percent of invasive breast cancers are found in women ages 55 and older. 

Family History

If a first-degree female relative — such as a sister, mother or daughter — has had breast cancer, your risk is doubled. 


Up to 10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. This translates to approximately 76,500 to 153,000 new cases each year. Through a hereditary risk assessment and genetic testing, men and women can understand their likelihood of developing certain types of cancer. 


White women are more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American, Hispanic and Asian women. However, African-American women are more likely to develop more aggressive and advanced-stage breast cancer that is often diagnosed at a young age.