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Breast cancer –what changes the risk after menopause?


Breast cancer –what changes the risk after menopause?

Older women have an increased risk of breast cancer.1 Although you can’t change your age, there are other things you can do that may help lower your risk.


More than 75% of breast cancers in Australia are diagnosed in women aged 50 years or older.1 Although you can’t turn back the clock, there are many lifestyle changes you can make which may help reduce your risk of breast cancer.1,2



Exercise has so many health benefits, if it was available in a pill, we would all take it! Many studies have shown that exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.1 Physical activity can include incidental activity (such as walking, housework and gardening) as well as sports or going to the gym. So get moving!



Regular alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and the risk increases with the number of drinks you have.1 Cancer Australia recommend drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day, although some international guidelines recommend only one standard drink per day for women.2



Being overweight or gaining weight

 Carrying excess body fat increases your risk of breast cancer after menopause, possibly because fat tissue affects the levels of circulating hormones in the body.1 Putting on weight after menopause also increases the risk, so eating a healthy diet is especially important as you reach menopause.1



Check your breasts

Sometimes, breast cancer just happens. Some women get breast cancer even though they don’t have any known risk factors, while many women with risk factors never develop breast cancer at all. Regardless of what risk factors you have, it’s always important to check your breasts regularly and take advantage of free breast screening mammograms through BreastScreen Australia. The earlier you detect breast cancer, the better the likely outcome.1,3


©Pfizer 2019 Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800675 229. Sydney, Australia 2000. PP-DUA-AUS-0474, 08/2019.

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  1. Australian Government Cancer Australia. Breast cancer; the risk factors. Available from: Accessed August 2019.
  2. Australian Government Cancer Australia. Position Statement - Lifestyle risk factors and the primary prevention of cancer. Available from Accessed August 2019.
  3. Australian Government Cancer Australia. Breast cancer awareness. Accessed August 2019.