Breast Cancer Facts

It is very important for women of all ages to be breast aware, some breast cancer facts are as follows:

  • Early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer is key to survival
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Ireland (excluding skin cancers)
  • 1 in 9 Irish Women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime
  • More than 2,500 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in Ireland
  • Breast Cancer can affect anyone – irrespective of age, lifestyle and gender
  • Approximately 16 men will develop breast cancer each year in Ireland
  • The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age
  • Woman are most commonly diagnosed after the age 50


What causes Breast Cancer?

The exact cause of breast cancer is still unknown, continued breast cancer research is important to determine the causes of this illness.

However, there are a number of risk factors to be aware of, such as:

Gender: Breast cancer is more common in women than in men, approximately 16 men will develop breast cancer in Ireland each year.

Age: Breast cancer occurs most often in women over the age of 50 and is quite uncommon in women below the age of 30.

Family history: A very small number of breast cancers are caused by an inherited gene (e.g. BRCA1, BRCA2). However, your risk is higher if there is a history of breast cancer (or other cancer such as ovarian or bowel) in several close family members.

Lifestyle: Lifestyle risks include; being physically inactive, being a smoker, being overweight, having a high alcohol intake, and poor diet.

Previous breast disease: a person’s risk is increased if they were previously diagnosed with breast cancer.

Hormones: The following can affect the risk of breast cancer:

  • Starting the menstrual cycle at an early age
  • Having your first child at an older age
  • Late menopause
  • Using the contraceptive pill
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)


If you are concerned about any number of these breast cancer risk factors, please do not hesitate to contact your GP.
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