About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. get breast cancer.
More than 40,000 of them die each year.
What puts you at higher risk of breast cancer?
- Being female
- Being middle aged or older (two-thirds of breast cancers occur in women 55 and older)
- Having breast cancer, certain other cancers, or a noncancerous breast disease in the past
- Having a close relative with breast cancer
- Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
- Smoking any tobacco products
- Drinking an average of 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day
- Dense breast tissue
- Long-term or increased exposure to the hormone estrogen
- Starting menstruation early or hitting menopause late
- Exposure to radiation
How can you lower your risk for developing breast cancer?
- Get at least 45 minutes of physical activity/exercise 5 days per week
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Have your first child before the age of 30
- Breastfeed your children
- Don’t smoke (or quit smoking)
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Avoid or limit hormone replacement therapy
- Limit medical imaging tests that use radiation
How can you help ensure early detection for more effective treatment?
- Get to know the size, symmetry, and skin of your breasts and report any changes to your doctor right away
- The American Cancer Society and other organizations recommend asking your doctor to teach you to perform breast self exams to feel for lumps; the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force and other groups advise against this, though
- Talk to your doctor about your risk factors to decide how often you should get mammograms (once per year or once every two years are standard)