Causes, Risk Factors, & Symptoms
Cancer is a result of damaged DNA. The cause of the damage is most often a combination of biological and environmental factors. While the exact cause is unknown, some risk factors have been shown to increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Being a woman
Certain gene mutations
A personal or family history of breast cancer
Dense breast tissue
Getting your period before age 12
Starting menopause after age 55
Radiation treatment to the chest
Not having children, or having your first child after age 30
Being obese or overweight
Some types of hormonal birth control medications
Taking certain hormone therapy medications
A thorough list of risk factors for breast cancer is available on the American Cancer Society's website.9
Various signs and symptoms might indicate that you have breast cancer. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
- A lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
- Changes in the size or shape of your breast
- Pus-like or bloody fluid from the nipple
- Dimpling, redness, or an inward-turned nipple
- Skin irritation on or around your breast
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