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Factors That May Lower Breast Cancer Risk
- Pregnancy before age 35
- Early onset of menopause
- Surgical removal of the ovaries before age 37
Factors Not Linked to Breast Cancer
- Coffee or caffeine consumption
- Underwire bras
- Abortion or miscarriage
- Breast implants
Risk Factors Under Investigation
Research is still being done to determine if certain chemicals increase the risk of breast cancer. Women who use hormone birth control may have a very small rise in their risk of breast cancer. This risk disappears if birth control is stopped for 10 years or more. Other studies show no link between breast cancer and birth control.
Eating foods high in soy may increase breast cancer risk. This is because soy contains natural estrogens. Other studies suggest higher levels of soy in the diet may lower breast cancer risk. Some studies suggest that green tea may lower breast cancer risk.
More research is needed to confirm these findings.
Breast Cancer in African-American and Hispanic Women
Breast cancer among African-American and Hispanic women may be lower than Caucasian women. However, a higher number of African-American and Hispanic women develop breast cancer before age 50.
African-American and Hispanic women diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to die from their disease. This is partly because they have fewer screening mammograms than white women. This means they are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage. At later stages, treatment is more difficult and survival rates are lower.
The difference also reflects a tendency for these populations to have more aggressive types of breast cancer. This can include triple-negative breast cancer which isn’t linked to estrogen, progesterone or HER2-neu.
Breast Cancer in Men
Male breast cancer is relatively rare, with about 1,600 cases diagnosed in the United States each year. Men with breast cancer are typically diagnosed at a later age than women (average age of diagnosis is 65).
A man’s risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. Additional risk factors include:
- Family history of breast cancer (male or female)
- Inherited changes in certain genes
- Conditions that cause higher estrogen in the body
- Radiation exposure to the chest
- Drinking a lot of alcohol
- Liver disease
- Estrogen use