SUPREMO Selective Use of Postoperative Radiotherapy after Mastectomy / NHS Scotland

Information on Breast Cancer

We don't yet understand completely why some women develop breast cancer. The risk of developing breast cancer is very low in young women and increases as women get older. More than half of breast cancer patients are women over the age of 65.

You are slightly more at risk of breast cancer if you:

  • Have had breast cancer
  • Are taking hormone replacement therapy (except if you are taking it because of an early menopause)
  • Are taking the contraceptive pill
  • Do not have children
  • Have never breastfed
  • Are overweight after the menopause
  • Drink a lot of alcohol over many years

We think that around 5-10% of breast cancers are caused by inherited faulty genes. Two genes that are found in women with breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, have been identified so far. However breast cancer is a common cancer and about one in nine women in the UK will develop it during their lifetime and only a small proportion will have one or other of these two genes.

You can find out more about breast cancer by visiting the following websites:


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