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Currently, approximately 3.5 million women are living with breast cancer in the United States and that number is expected to increase to over 4.5 million by 2026.

Know your risk factors, look for the warning signs, and follow these tips for prevention.

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Risk Factors

    • Age A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer increases as she gets older. Although young women do get breast cancer, about 80% of breast cancers appear in women over the age of 50.

    • Gender Breast cancer is more prevalent in women but can be diagnosed in men as well. <1% occurs in men, however, men are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease.

    • Family History A family history of breast cancer, especially in a first-degree relative, a relative diagnosed under the age of 50, a family member with bilateral breast cancer or a male relative with breast cancer all increase a person’s risk of breast cancer.

    • Obesity Increased fat tissue may lead to increased levels of estrogen which may increase the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.

    • Hormone Replacement Therapy Current or recent users of combined hormone therapy (estrogen and progesterone) for 5 years or longer have increased risk of breast cancer.

    • Dense Breasts Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which can make it more difficult to identify abnormalities on a mammogram. Ask to have a 3D mammogram as they give radiologists a clearer picture of the breast and allow them to detect breast cancer at its earliest stage.

    • Drinking Alcohol Alcohol consumption, another modifiable risk factor, increases the risk of breast cancer by about 7%-10% for each drink consumed on a regular basis.

    • Sedentary Lifestyle Regular exercise decreases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer by 10%-25%.

    • Menstruating Early Or Go Through Menopause Late Women who started having their periods before the age of 12 appear to have a slightly higher risk as do those women who go through menopause after the age of 50.

Warning Signs

  • Swelling, redness, dimpling or other visible changes to the skin of one or both breasts
  • Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • A lump or thickening of breast tissue

“Women Ages 45 to 54, at average risk of breast cancer, should be screened annually. Women ages 40-44 have the option to start annual mammogram screening.”

Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors – Tips for Prevention

  • Eat fresh unprocessed foods. Include 5 vegetables and 2 fruits into your daily nutritional plan

  • Keep your BMI between 18.5—24.9

  • Perform monthly self-exams for visual abnormalities and feel for lumps

  • Keep alcohol consumption to less than 1 drink per day

  • Perform at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times per week

  • Make sure you are getting adequate sleep every night (7-9 hours)

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