Risk factors that affect your likelihood of developing Paget's disease of the breast are the same factors that affect your risk of developing any other type of breast cancer.

Some factors that make you more susceptible to breast cancer include:

  • Age. Your chances of developing breast cancer increase as you get older.
  • A personal history of breast cancer. If you've had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
  • A personal history of breast abnormalities. If you've had lobular carcinoma in situ or atypical hyperplasia, your risk of developing breast cancer is higher. Certain benign breast conditions also are associated with a slightly increased risk.
  • Family history. If you have a mother, sister or daughter with breast or ovarian cancer or both, or even a father or brother with breast cancer, you have a greater chance of developing breast cancer.
  • Genetic predisposition. Defects in one of several genes, especially BRCA1 or BRCA2, put you at greater risk of developing breast cancer as well as ovarian and other cancers. Such defects account for fewer than 1 out of 10 breast cancers.
  • Dense breast tissue. Women with dense breast tissue, as seen on a mammogram, face a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Radiation exposure. If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult to treat another cancer, you're more likely to develop breast cancer later in life.
  • Excess weight. Weighing more than is healthy for your age and height increases your risk of breast cancer — especially after menopause and if you gained weight as an adult.
  • Hormone replacement. Taking estrogen after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer for some women.
  • Race. White women are more likely to develop breast cancer than black or Hispanic women are, but black women are more likely to die of the disease.

Having one or more risk factors doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer have no known risk factors.

Mar. 27, 2013

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