Minimize your risk!
According to many foundation cancer websites, there are two types of risk factors for developing breast cancer. When trying to figure out if the lump in your breast is cancerous, many things might go through your mind. What if I do have breast cancer? Will I survive? Who will take care of my kids?
I believe the best thing you can do to control your fear is to get informed about all aspects of breast cancer. This blog will address that first and foremost issue. What are the breast cancer risk factors?
The two factors are the uncontrollable factors and the controllable factors.
Uncontrollable risk factors include:
• Gender Being a woman
• Age 50+ increases risk
• Race White women have a higher occurrence rate. However, the prognosis is worse in minority women
• Genetic History Women who have inherited changes to BRCA 1 & 2 genes
• Reproductive history Starting menstrual periods before age 12 and starting menopause after age 55
• Having dense breasts Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue.
• Personal history of breast cancer or certain other breast non-cancerous diseases.
• Family history of breast or ovarian cancer. A woman’s risk for breast cancer is higher if she has a mother, sister, or daughter or multiple family members on either her mother’s or father’s side of the family who have had breast or ovarian cancer. Having a first-degree male relative with breast cancer also raises a woman’s risk.
• Radiation therapy before age 30
• Exposure to the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) was given to women in 1971 to prevent miscarriage. But had an adverse effect on the future health of that fetus
The controllable risk factors are:
• A sedentary lifestyle
• Being overweight or having obesity after menopause.
• Taking hormones Certain oral contraceptives (birth control pills) also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
• Reproductive history Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk. Also, not breastfeeding or not having children at all.
• Alcohol consumption Drinking more than 6-10 drinks/week