Causes & Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that increase your chances of getting breast cancer. However, having any of these doesn’t mean you will definitely develop the disease. On the flip side, some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of.

Regardless, researchers have identified a complex set of factors – genetics hormonal, lifestyle and environmental – that may increase your risk of breast cancer: 

  • Sex: Women are 100times more likely than men are to develop breast cancer.
  • Age: The risk for breast cancer increases with age; most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.
  • Family History: If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk of breast cancer is increased. However, it should be noted – most people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
  • Personal History of Breast Cancer: Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to get breast cancer a second time.
  • Drinking Alcohol: Alcohol use disorder raises your risk.
  • Dense Breast Tissue: Dense breast tissue makes mammograms hard to read. It also increases your risk for breast cancer.
  • Genes: Women who have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don’t. Other gene mutations may also affect your risk.
  • Early Menstruation: If you had your first period before age 12 years, you have an increased risk for breast cancer.
  • Giving Birth at an Older Age: Women who had their first child after age 35 years have an increased risk for breast cancer.
  • Hormone Therapy: Women who took or are taking postmenopausal estrogen and progesterone medications to help reduce their signs of menopause symptoms have a higher risk for breast cancer.
  • Late Menopause Start: Women who start menopause after age 55 years are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Never Having Been Pregnant: Women who have never become pregnant or carried a pregnancy to full term are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Radiation Exposure: If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, your risk of breast cancer is increased.
  • Obesity: Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.

When to See a Doctor

If you have any continual signs or symptoms of breast cancer, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Also, make an appointment if you contain any of the risk factors associated with the cancer.

Our Cancer Services

Depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, BASS Cancer Center and the BASS Medical Group offers a wide range of treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, and systemic therapies.   

Our state-of-the-art cancer center features a full-service medical oncology clinic, including infusion suite, multiple exam rooms, and a PET/CT scanner. We also provide the most technologically advanced radiation oncology treatment in California. Our cancer experts use an Elekta VersaHD CT-Guided linear accelerator with Visionrt’s AlignRT Surface Guided technology (SGRT) and an MR-Guided Linear Accelerator (ViewRay MRIdian).

The VersaHD and MRIdian augment each platform’s capabilities and give the patient and BASS physician an unprecedented ability to tailor a radiotherapy treatment course best fit for each person’s case. Our AlignRT SGRT platform utilizes innovative optical technology to accurately track a patient’s position before and during treatment without exposing them to any additional radiation (commonly needed by other radiotherapy platforms for maintaining setup). Additionally, SGRT allows some patients the choice to avoid permanent marks on their bodies.