Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

A risk factor is something that raises a person's chances of getting a disease or health problem. A person can have breast cancer with or without the risks below. The more risks a person has, the greater the chances are.

The most common risk factors, gender and age, cannot be changed. Breast cancer is far more common in women, but men can also have it. Breast cancer risk increases with age. Most women with breast cancer are over 50 years old, but it can be found at any age. Breast cancer is also more common in women who are White.

Other things that raise the risk for breast cancer are:


  • Breast and ovarian cancer and family history risk categories. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/breast_ovarian_cancer/risk_categories.htm.
  • Breast cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/breast-disorders/breast-cancer.
  • Breast cancer risk and prevention. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention.html.
  • General information about breast cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/breast-treatment-pdq#_125.
  • Risk factors for breast cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/risk-factors-for-breast-cancer.
  • 7/10/2019 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T901178/Risk-factors-for-breast-cancer: de Blok CJM, Wiepjes CM, Nota NM, et al. Breast cancer risk in transgender people receiving hormone treatment: nationwide cohort study in the Netherlands. BMJ. 2019;365:l1652.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.