According to the CDC, there are risk factors for breast cancer you should be aware of. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years of age or older.
A risk factor does not mean you will ever get breast cancer – and not all risk factors have the same effect.
Risk Factors You Cannot Change:
- Getting Older
- Genetic Mutations
- Reproductive History
- Dense Breasts
- Personal or Family History of Breast Cancer
- Previous Treatment Using Radiation Therapy
- Exposure to the Drug DES (diethylstilbestrol)
- Previous exposure to some chemicals
Risk Factors You Can Change:
- Being Overweight or Obese
- Not Being Physically Active
- Taking Hormones
- Drinking Alcohol
- Taking narcotics and overusing prescription or over-the-counter medication
The strongest risk factor is age. If you are between the ages of 45 to 54, you should be getting a mammogram every single year. And if you have a family member, such as your mother, sister, or daughter, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk factor nearly doubles.
If you are at all concerned about your level of risk, you should talk to your doctor about ways to reduce that risk including:
- Taking medicines that reduce or block estrogen in your body.
- If you have a strong family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, you may want to consider surgery as well.
Most breast cancers begin in the breast tissue, which is made up of glands for producing milk. Or it can develop in the tubes which connect the glands to the nipple. Both instances can be detected during a mammogram screening before symptoms have even developed or after a woman notices a lump in her breast.
To understand all that such a diagnosis entails, you need to talk with your physician about your risk factors and to understand classic symptoms, plus what needs to be done in order for you to get back to your overall good health and well-being.