Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed every year in the month of October to raise awareness about breast cancer. It encourages women to check for suspicious lumps and bump. This international health campaign is also aimed at raising funds for breast cancer research and offering support and information to people suffering from the disease. According to a study published in the Journal of Business Research, lack of awareness and early diagnosis is leading towards breast cancer epidemic. There is an increase in the number of breast cancer cases in the country due to change in the lifestyle and rapid urbanization. Raising awareness about the disease, its risk factors and prevention can help lower the chances of developing breast cancer. Here is a list of breast cancer risk factors, which you should be aware of. (ALSO READ 5 Lesser-Known Signs of Breast Cancer).

Age

The risk of breast cancer goes up with age. Most of the invasive breast cancer cases are diagnosed in women after the age of 50.

Overweight

Obesity or being overweight can also increase the risk of developing breast cancer as compared to those with a healthy weight. If you are overweight, the risk of recurrence of breast cancer also goes up.

Not being physically active

It is important to exercise regularly to lower the risk of breast cancer especially after menopause. (ALSO READ Experts stresses on early diagnosis, awareness).

Dense breasts

You are more likely to develop breast cancer if you have dense breasts. It is sometimes difficult to detect a tumor if you have dense breasts due to more connective tissue as compared to fatty tissue.

Pregnancy

The risk of breast cancer is high if you haven’t had a child or if you had your first child after 30. Becoming pregnant before the age of 30 lowers the risk of breast cancer.

Not Breastfeeding

According to some studies, breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer slightly. More studies are required to know the effect of breastfeeding on breast cancer. (ALSO READ 7 things young women must know about breast cancer).

Use of hormone replacement therapy

The risk of developing breast cancer is higher among the hormone replacement therapy users. There is a link between breast cancer and hormone replacement therapy.

Genetics

Inheriting abnormal genes from parents can also lead to breast cancer. Around 10 percent of the breast cancer is caused by abnormal genes. Inheriting the mutated genes can increase the risk of not just breast cancer but also ovarian cancer.

Family history

If there is a history of breast cancer cases in your family, then there is a chance of developing the disease. The risk of breast cancer doubles if breast cancer is diagnosed in one of your first-degree female relatives like mother and sister.

Drinking alcohol

Risk of breast cancer is linked to drinking alcohol and increases with the amount of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol also increases the risk of other types of cancers.

Being in the high-risk group, it doesn’t mean you will get breast cancer. You need to consult your doctor to know about screening and ways to reduce the breast cancer risk.