Posted By: Envision2bWell
During the month of October, many organizations, groups and individuals across the world increase awareness of breast cancer and raise funds to research the disease and find a cure.
Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
Risk factors for breast cancer in women include:
- Increasing age
- Changes in BRCA1, BRCA2, and other cancer genes
- Personal history of breast cancer or a mother or sister has or had breast cancer
- Dense breast tissue (shown on a mammogram)
- Certain abnormal breast changes that are not cancer. These changes are found during a breast biopsy.
- Radiation therapy to the chest before age 30
- Never giving birth or having a first full-term pregnancy after age 30. Never breast-fed a baby.
- Being obese or overweight after menopause
- Hormone therapy (estrogen plus progestin) after menopause
- Alcohol–the more used, the greater the risk.
- Lack of physical activity throughout life
Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.
The third week of October is Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week. Though rare, men can get breast cancer too. For men, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. Yearly, about 450 men in the U.S. die from breast cancer. Men should look for and report a lump or other change in a breast to their doctors.
You may be able to make changes that lower your risk of breast cancer. Also, you can have screenings done to catch it early, when it is easier to treat and cure. Talk with your doctor about getting regular mammograms to detect breast cancer.
Below are risk factors that you can change through healthier dailly life habits and other measures:
Drinking alcohol raises your risk of breast cancer. The more alcohol a person drinks, the higher the risk.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women have no more than one drink a day. If you don’t drink, don’t start. The lowest risk is in women who don’t drink alcohol at all.
Having more body fat after menopause can make estrogen levels higher. Higher estrogen raises the risk of breast cancer. Being overweight can also raise insulin levels. Higher insulin levels are linked to breast cancer.
The ACS recommends people work to stay at a healthy weight or lose weight if they are overweight. Weight loss can be difficult, so ask your doctor if you need help.
Some women use hormone therapy after menopause. Hormone therapy may also be called HRT, HT or menopause therapy. This can help with menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Hormone therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. But, the risk may go back down after about five years of stopping treatment. Hormone therapy can also increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and blood clots.
If you need hormone therapy for menopause symptoms, talk to your doctor about it. Usually it’s best to use it at the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time.
Smoking increases the risk of cancer, including breast cancer. Ask your doctor if you need help quitting.
Getting regular exercise can lower your breast cancer risk. While exercising five days a week is best, try to exercise whenever you can. Even a small amount of exercise is better than none.
To join the fight against breast cancer, please consider donating or volunteering. Every bit counts! Learn more here.
Source: American Institute for Preventive Medicine
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