How does the age at menopause affect a women's risk for breast cancer?

Updated: Dec 26, 2019
  • Author: Graham A Colditz, MD, DrPH; Chief Editor: Chandandeep Nagi, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Age at menopause and risk of breast cancer has been well described for many years. Women who have undergone bilateral oophorectomy at a young age have a greatly reduced risk of breast cancer. [6, 30] Women with bilateral oophorectomy before age 45 years have approximately half the risk of breast cancer compared to those with a natural menopause at age 55 years or older. On average, the risk of breast cancer increases by some 3% per year of delay in age at menopause.

The reduction in risk of breast cancer with early menopause is likely due to the reduction of breast cell division with the termination of menstrual cycles and the decline in endogenous hormone levels, which become substantially lower than during the premenopausal years.


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