Causes and risk factors

Potential causes of breast cancer

We don't know exactly what causes many cancers. But there are things that can increase your risk of getting cancer. Find out what to look out for and the changes you could make to reduce your risk.

  • Breast cancer

    Age, lifestyle and risk

    Your risk of developing breast cancer may increase with age, alcohol intake, being overweight and smoking.

  • Breast cancer

    Previous cancer and other breast conditions

    Your risk of developing breast cancer can increase if you’ve had cancer or other breast condition before, or radiotherapy to your chest.

  • Breast cancer

    Hormonal factors

    Your exposure to the hormones oestrogen and progesterone can affect your risk of developing breast cancer.

  • Breast cancer

    Genetic factors (family history)

    There are sometimes genetic links between cancers in the same family.