Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Prevention

Patient Information

Appointment Scheduling

Hours:
Monday - Friday,
7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Saturday,
7:10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The Breast Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital helps patients evaluate risk and determine positive factors that may impact their chances of developing breast cancer. While it's difficult to accurately predict any individual's likelihood of developing breast cancer, our growing understanding of the ways in which breast cancer develops has helped doctors and scientists define categories of negative risk factors and protective factors for breast cancer.

It's important to remember that even with everything we know about breast cancer, there are still many unknowns. Every person is different, and what's appropriate for one person may not be for another.

The following risk factors may increase the incidence of breast cancer:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Personal history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer
  • Prior personal history of non-cancerous (benign) tumors (where the tissue is removed)
  • A mutation in the BRCA1 (breast cancer type 1 susceptibility hormone) or BRCA2 (breast cancer type 2 susceptibility hormone) genes
  • First period before the age of 12
  • First child born after the age of 30 or having no children
  • Menopause begins after the age of 55
  • Advancing age — about 80% of all cases occur after age 50
  • Lifestyle risk factors:
    • Consuming more than one alcoholic drink each day
    • Being overweight, especially after menopause or if excess body fat is distributed in the upper part of the body
    • Taking birth control pills for 4 or more years before the first full-term pregnancy
      (may increase risk slightly)
    • Using hormone replacement therapy (to treat menopausal symptoms) for 4 years or more
    • Estrogen (naturally occurring)
    • Exposure to radiation (for example, working around radiation)

The following protective factors may decrease the incidence
of breast cancer or recurrence of breast cancer:

  • Decreased exposure to estrogen
  • Medications to reduce estrogen receptivity (for example, Tamoxifen)
  • Medications to inhibit estrogen production (Aromatase inhibitors)
  • Prophylactic mastectomy (the removal of both breasts when there is no sign of cancer)
  • Prophylactic oophorectomy (the removal of both ovaries when there is no sign of cancer)
  • Healthy Living:
    • Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
    • Avoid fatty foods
    • Add whole-grains, cereals and calcium to your diet
    • Be sure to get regular exercise
    • Avoid smoking and consume alcohol in moderation

Take a proactive approach

Talking to your doctor about your risk for breast cancer is an important step to take. The Breast Center at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital can be an important part of this process, providing information about your specific risk factors and ways you may be able to reduce your risk. These conversations are also a great way to discuss breast cancer detection — and if done early — it's one of the best ways to improve the likelihood of successful treatment.