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Breast Cancer Risk Factors

At a Glance

These factors can increase or decrease breast cancer risk. While some factors increase the risk of breast cancer, others are protective, meaning they reduce breast cancer risk.

Factors that influence breast cancer risk include:

  • Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise
  • Systemic factors like race, power, and inequities 
  • Chemical and radiation exposures (see our Glossary of Exposures for more)
  • Genetics  

See chapter pullouts and condensed fact sheets with solutions from BCPP’s Paths to Prevention: the California Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan for the science on each breast cancer risk factor. Each includes interventions to reduce breast cancer risk and maximize the beneficial effects of protective factors. 


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