Risk of Breast Cancer Increases with Age
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among females in the United States, besides non-melanoma skin cancer. Research indicates that approximately 1 in 8 females will develop breast cancer. There are several factors that impact the risk of developing breast cancer. One of these factors is age. As you age, your risk of developing breast cancer increases.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer develops when abnormal cells in the breast form a tumor. In some cases, malignant tumors can spread to other areas of the body- but, if diagnosed and treated early, this can be prevented.
The caregivers at Gentle Shepherd Home Care in Colorado Springs can help you manage your treatment including making sure you have access to your medications, transportation to and from your treatments, companionship, and more.
In this article, we’ll explain how age and other factors impact your risk of developing breast cancer. We will also explain the benefits and risks of undergoing regular screenings.
Average Age of Breast Cancer Diagnosis
As you age, abnormal cell changes are more likely to occur, which increases your risk of developing breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is most commonly diagnosed in females between the ages of 55 to 64 years old.
Research shows that between the years of 2012 to 2016, there were over 400,000 females diagnosed with breast cancer. The age group breakdown looked like this:
- 20 to 34 years old: 1.9%
- 35 to 44 years old: 8.4%
- 45 to 54 years old: 1%
- 55 to 64 years old: 25.6%
- 65 to 74 years old: 24.8%
- 75 to 84 years old: 13.7%
- 84+ years old: 5.6%
Other Risk Factors
There are several other risk factors that are out of your control that can impact your risk of developing breast cancer, including:
- Gender (females are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer)
- Breast density (connective versus fatty tissues- females with more connective than fatty tissues are more likely to develop breast cancer)
- Genetic mutations (changes/mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes increase risk of developing breast cancer)
- Family history (females with a family history of breast cancer are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer)
- Menstrual/reproductive history (females who start menstruating at a younger age or who go through menopause at a later age are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer and those who have never given birth at full-term or had their first full-term pregnancy after age 30 are at an increased risk for developing breast cancer)
- Diethylstilbestrol treatment (females who were pregnant between 1940 to 1971 and were given this medication to prevent miscarriage are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer)
- Personal history (females who have been diagnosed and undergone treatment previously are at an increased risk of being diagnosed a second time)
- Radiation therapy (females who have undergone radiation therapy to the chest/breast before age 30 are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer)
There are also several lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of developing breast cancer, including:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control
- Being overweight after menopause
- Drinking alcohol
Benefits/Risks of Screenings
Regular screening for breast cancer offers benefits and risks. The primary benefit is that the cancer can be detected and treated early, improving your outlook.
However, there are several risks as well, including:
- False positives/negatives
Gentle Shepherd Home Care Can Help Support You Through Your Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are in or near Colorado Springs, Gentle Shepherd Home Care can help support you through your breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. We offer a variety of in-home senior care services including transportation to and from treatments, medication reminders, companionship, and more. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation care assessment.