Advanced Age, a Breast Cancer Risk Factor - dummies

By Marshalee George, Kimlin Tam Ashing

The number one risk factor of any type of cancer is age. The older people get, the more incidences of cancer will be found. In the United States, we are becoming a more aged society, with the baby boomers getting older and living longer.

With advanced age, there is ample time for breast cells to be altered or mutate due to internal genetic errors. Just like an aging car, some of the parts of a cell are subject to wear and tear over time and as a result function less efficiently. Additional risk factors like environmental exposures and poor lifestyle behaviors can increase your risk.

The table shows how often women get diagnosed with breast cancer (incidence rate) and the age of diagnosis.

Estimated New U.S. Female Breast Cancer Cases by Age and Death

Age Noninvasive Cases Invasive cases Deaths*
<40 1,650 10,500 1,010
40–49 12,310 35,850 3,690
50–59 16,970 54,060 7,600
60–69 15,850 59,990 9,090
70–79 9,650 42,480 8,040
80+ 3,860 28,960 10,860
All ages 60,290 231,840 40,290

* Rounded to the nearest 10. Data from American Cancer Society, Surveillance Research, 2015