The most common form of breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma is associated with certain risk factors. A breast cancer risk factor is any characteristic that influences the likelihood that an individual will develop the condition at some point during her (or his) lifetime. Even so, it’s important to keep in mind that most people have one or more risk factors, yet do not develop breast cancer. Likewise, some people with breast cancer have no known risk factors.
With that said, the main characteristics that are believed to influence breast cancer risk are gender and age. While invasive ductal carcinoma sometimes affects men, the majority of patients are women who are diagnosed at age 55 and older. Because these and other risk factors cannot be controlled, it is doubly important to be aware of them, to use this information to make informed health care choices and to consult with a physician promptly if any health changes occur.
In addition to gender and age, other factors that can increase an individual’s risk of developing invasive ductal carcinoma include:
- A family history of breast cancer
- A personal history of breast cancer or benign breast disease
- Prior radiation treatment administered to the chest area
- Dense breast tissue
- Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy
- Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES)
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Night-shift work
- Alcohol and tobacco use
On the other hand, certain factors, such as fewer menstrual cycles over a woman’s lifetime, can reduce the risk of breast cancer. For instance, a late onset of menstruation, an early menopause, multiple pregnancies and breastfeeding have all been shown to have a protective effect.
The Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at Moffitt Cancer Center offers breast cancer patients all of the guidance, treatment and support they may need in a single location. Through our advanced Genetic Counseling and Testing Service, we have helped many people explore their options for risk reduction, early detection and treatment.
If you’d like to speak with a physician about general invasive ductal carcinoma risk factors, strategies to lower your personal risk level or breast cancer screening, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. No referrals are required.