Most Irish women fail to recognise that increasing age is one of the biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer, a new survey has revealed.
The research was published as the Irish Cancer Society announced Breast Cancer Awareness Month this morning as part of its Action Breast Cancer programme.
Only 2 per cent of those surveyed identified age as the biggest risk factor, after being female.
Some 52 per cent of women living in Ireland believed family history was the biggest risk, and that those in their 40s are most at risk of developing breast cancer. However, only five to 10 per cent of women who suffered from breast cancer had a family history of the disease.
More than 2,370 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2005, with 75 per cent of all breast cancer cases seen in women over the age of 50 years and 37 per cent in women over the age of 65.
The biggest risk factor, apart from being female, for the development of breast cancer is increasing age, Naomi Fitzgibbon, manager of Action Breast Cancer, said.
Other risk factors include having an early menstruation or late menopause, not having children or having first child after the age of 30 and having a family history of breast cancer.