Risk Factors

The two most common risk factors for breast cancer are:

  • Being Female
  • Getting Older
  • Certain Inherited Genes

All women are at risk for breast cancer. As with many other diseases, your risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older.   According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1 out of 8 invasive breast cancers develop in women younger than 45 and 2 out of 3 are found in women 55 or older.  Other factors that can increase your risk that you CAN control are maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, eating healthy and not smoking.

According to Breastcancer.org, about 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child. Most inherited cases of breast cancer are associated with two abnormal genes:  BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.   The function of the BRCA genes is to repair cell damage and keep breast, ovarian, and other cells growing normally.   But when these genes contain abnormalities or mutations that are passed from generation to generation


Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. In 2014, it is estimated that among U.S. men there will be:

  • 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed
  • 430 men who die from breast cancer