Let’s Talk About Breast Cancer
What Can Cause Breast Cancer?
Empower yourself by learning which risk factors increase your chance of developing breast cancer. Knowing how at risk you are can help guide your conversation with your doctor.
Although breast cancer is more common as a woman ages, it is recommended that the risk of breast cancer be assessed beginning at age 30. The incidence of breast cancer starts to rise in the 40s, and peak incidence occurs by the 70s.2
Having a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or inherited genetic changes to certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2.3
Reproductive History and Hormones
Having a first pregnancy after you turn 30, never having a full-term pregnancy, or not breast feeding. Taking estrogen and progesterone can also increase your risk.3
Breast Screening in Numbers
Some screening methods have been found to be more successful in detecting breast cancer than others.
Click through to explore the numbers.
If 1,000 women are screened with regular mammography alone, approximately 2-7 are found to have cancer.*13,14
- Breast cancer statistics. https://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-types/breast/statistics, Accessed July, 2022 Return to content
- Monticciolo et al. Breast cancer screening recommendations inclusive of all women at average risk: update from the ACR and Society of Breast Imaging. J Am Coll Radiol 2021; 18(9):1280-1288 Return to content
- What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer? https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/risk_factors.htm, Accessed August 2021. Return to content
- Dense Breasts: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions. https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/breast-changes/dense-breasts, Accessed August 2021 Return to content
- Physical Activity and Cancer https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet, Accessed September 2021 Return to content
- Monticciolo, Debra L et al. “Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations Inclusive of All Women at Average Risk: Update from the ACR and Society of Breast Imaging.” Journal of the American College of Radiology : JACR vol. 18,9 (2021): 1280-1288. doi:10.1016/j.jacr.2021.04.021 Return to content
- Survival statistics for breast cancer. https://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-types/breast/prognosis-and-survival/survival-statistics, Accessed June 2022 Return to content
- Seely, J M, and T Alhassan. “Screening for breast cancer in 2018-what should we be doing today?.” Current oncology (Toronto, Ont.) vol. 25,Suppl 1 (2018): S115-S124. doi:10.3747/co.25.3770 Return to content
- Assessment of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care Breast Imaging Guidelines by the Canadian Association of Radiologists and the Canadian Society of Breast Imaging. https://tcfmi.com/ wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Advocating-for-Evidence-based-Breast-Imaging-Guidelines.pdf, Accessed July 2022 Return to content
- Risks for breast cancer. https://cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-types/breast/risks, Accessed June 2022 Return to content
- Breast Cancer Risks Factors You Cannot Change. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/breast-cancer-risk-factors-you-cannot-change.html, Accessed June 2022 Return to content
- Breast cancer statistics. https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/breast/statistics, Accessed June 2022 Return to content
- Lee CS, Sengupta D, Bhargavan-Chatfield M, Sickles EA, Burnside ES, Zuley ML. Association of patient age with outcomes of current-era, large-scale screening mammography: Analysis of data from the national mammography database. JAMA oncology 2017; 3:1134-1136 Return to content
- Lehman CD, Arao RF, Sprague BL, et al. National performance benchmarks for modern screening digital mammography: update from the breast cancer surveillance consortium. Radiology 2017;283(1):49-58 Return to content
- Rafferty EA, Durand MA, Conant EF, et al. Breast cancer screening using tomosynthesis and digital mammography in dense and nondense breasts. JAMA 2016; 315:1784-1786 Return to content
- Skaane P, Bandos AI, Niklason LT, et al. Digital Mammography versus Digital Mammography Plus Tomosynthesis in Breast Cancer Screening: The Oslo Tomosynthesis Screening Trial. Radiology 2019; 291:23-30 Return to content
- Berg WA, Vourtsis A. Screening breast ultrasound using hand-held or automated technique in women with dense breasts. Journal of Breast Imaging 2019; 1:283-296 Return to content
- Weigert JM. The Connecticut Experiment; The Third Installment: 4 Years of Screening Women with Dense Breasts with Bilateral Ultrasound. Breast J 2017; 23:34-39 Return to content
- Berg WA, Zhang Z, Lehrer D, et al. Detection of breast cancer with addition of annual screening ultrasound or a single screening MRI to mammography in women with elevated breast cancer risk. JAMA 2012; 307:1394-1404 Return to content
- Kuhl CK. The changing world of breast cancer. Investigative Radiology 2015; 50(9):615-628 Return to content