Friday, October 15, 2010

Focused on a Cure: Are you at risk for breast cancer?

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Are you at risk for breast cancer?

Although we do not know how to prevent breast cancer, it is possible to reduce your risk of developing the disease to help you stay well. Some risk factors such as age, race, family history of the disease, and reproductive history cannot be changed. However, lifestyle factors such as reducing alcohol use, engaging in regular physical activity, eating well, and staying at a healthy weight are all associated with lower risk.

Being a woman is the greatest risk factor for breast cancer; but men can develop breast cancer, too.

The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. Two out of three women with invasive breast cancer are 55 or older when they are diagnosed.

Breast cancer risk is higher among women with a family history of the disease. Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer increases a woman’s risk. However, most women with breast cancer do not have a first-degree relative with the disease.

Additional risk factors include:
Taking postmenopausal hormone therapy (especially combined estrogen and progestin therapy)
Being overweight or obese, especially if weight is gained after menopause
Use of alcohol, especially two or more drinks daily
Physical inactivity
Long menstrual history
Never having children or having your first child after age 30
Previous chest radiation to treat a different cancer
Previous history of breast cancer

You can help create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. To learn more about breast cancer and how to reduce your risk, call your American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit You can also join your local Relay For Life at .

Source: American Cancer Society

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