Breast cancer is the commonest site specific, malignancy affecting women  and the most common cause of cancer mortality in women worldwide. Our knowledge about breast cancer is evolving but it is still limited with respect to its etiology and biology and with respect to its features in individual countries and cultures.

The study was conducted to identify and determine the risk factors for breast cancer in a Tertiary hospital in Nigeria. A retrospective case control study was carried out in National Hospital Abuja. A total of 544samples were used in the work comprising of 272 cases and 272 controls . The data was obtained directly from patients case file. Information obtained were; Sex, Occupation, Weight, Height, Parity, Age, Religion, Marital Status, Smoking, Family history of breast cancer, Alcohol consumption, Menarche and Oral Contraceptive history. The data was entered and analyzed using SPSS 15 version. The P value accepted as significant was set at P < 0 .05 at 95% confidence level. Test statistics performed were chi-square (x2)  and odds ratio (OR) in order to obtain the association  as well as level of risk of a given risk factor.

Females constituted 521 (95.8%) of the study population while males were 23(4.2%). Patients age ranged between 25-74 years with age groups 35-44 and 45-54 years constituting the highest frequencies of 158 (29.4%) and 160 (29.8%) respectively. Those who had early menarche were 257(51.1%) while normal menarche were 246 (48.9%). Population of women who used oral contraceptives were 110 (21.8%) while those who did not use were 395 (78.2%). Parity among patients ranged between 0-10 children with those having 1-5 children having the highest frequency of 361 (72.8%). 264 (49.1%) of the patients consumed alcohol while 274 (50.9%) did not consume alcohol. Mother 60 (40.0%) and Sister 37 (24.7%) had the highest frequency for patient with family history. Civil servant 229 (43.5%) had the highest frequency for occupation of patients in the study. This was followed by those doing business 120 (22.8%). Housewives 96 (18.3%) Retiree 49 (9.3%) Student 18 (3.4%) and Farmers 14 (2.7%).  25 (4.6) of the patients smoked while 515 (95.4%) did not smoke. 47 (32.2%) of the patient were underweight while 99 (67.8%) were over weight. 459 (84.7%) of patients were Christians while 83 (15.3%) were practicing Islam. Finally 447 (82.9%) were married while 56(10.4%) were single and widows were 36 (6.7%) in the study. In conclusion, Gender, Age, Parity, Early menarche, Use of oral contraceptives, Alcohol consumption, Occupation and family history of patients with breast cancer were identified as risk factors for breast cancer as well as had significant association for development of breast cancer. Smoking, Religion, Marital status and BMI of patients were not identified as risk factors for developing breast cancer in the study.

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