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To save lives through improving early
diagnosis, developing new treatments and
preventing all types of breast cancer

Breakthrough Breast Cancer

Breast cancer risk factors






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Our genes, our lifestyle and life choices and our surrounding environment can all affect our risk of developing breast cancer. There may be steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Understanding breast cancer risk factors

There is no single cause of breast cancer – it results from a combination of different factors. Many things that affect your risk of breast cancer cannot be changed, such as your age, height and genetics. However, there are changes you can make to your lifestyle to reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Having particular factors that increase your risk doesn’t mean that you will definitely get breast cancer. Conversely, not having many risk factors doesn’t mean that you won’t. Risk factors simply increase or decrease your chances of developing the disease. So, even if you have a factor that increases your risk and you are diagnosed with breast cancer, there’s no way of proving that the risk factor actually caused it.

In our Risk Factor section you can find out more about how factors such as our genes and bodies, our lifestyle and life choices and our surrounding environment can increase or decrease our risk of breast cancer. You can also find out about factors that do not affect breast cancer risk.

Information last reviewed: 1 November 2011

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