Breast Cancer Risk and What You Can Do About It

Breast Cancer Risk and What You Can Do About It

Breast cancer is a type of cancer that originates in breast cells. Many different types exist, depending on exactly where the cancer starts and how it develops. Some kinds are more common than others, but all types have their own risks and chances of cure.

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point during their lives. Though not as prevalent as other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, it is widely feared because of the associated risks of death, illness, and disfigurement. A particular woman’s cancer risk is dependent on many complicated factors which are not yet well understood.

There are many risk factors. Some of these are your age, past incidences of breast lesions, your family’s medical history, and genetics. If you’ve had abnormal biopsies in the past or been exposed to some chemicals or radiation, those can present a risk as well, although a lesser one. The age a woman first gave birth, the age of her first period, the age she went through menopause, and whether or not she is overweight may also influence the chances of getting breast cancer to a lesser degree. However, 70 percent of women who get cancer do not fall into these risk groups.

There is no easy answer as to why certain women get breast cancer and others do not. It is the subject of much academic study. Much information can be gleaned by going to the websites of colleges and organizations known to specialize in studying what factors increase the risk of getting this disease. Talking to your doctor can help you assess how at risk you are and what you can do to reduce your susceptibility.

In spite of the widespread and understandable fear, many breast lumps are just abnormal growths that are benign. These abnormal growths are usually called tumors, although the term ‘tumor’ doesn’t always imply cancer since a tumor may be either cancerous or benign.

Any breast abnormality should be reported to a doctor, who will follow up with the appropriate tests to determine the nature of the abnormality. Screening tests, including the mammogram, should be performed on a routine basis as recommended by a physician. Much more information regarding breast cancer and breast cancer risk is available online, and through your health care professional.

Breast Cancer Risk and What You Can Do About It

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