A breast cancer diagnosis is terrifying for any woman and her family. Each of us has probably known someone who has suffered from it. Today’s early detection strategies and effective treatments have saved many lives but breast cancer remains the 2nd most common disease in American women, right behind skin cancer.
Many cases of breast cancer begin in the milk ducts of the breast and are called ductal carcinoma. Approximately 5-10% of breast cancer cases are linked to defective genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. In the remaining 90% of cases, there is a complex interaction among a woman’s genes, diet, and the environment she lives in that causes breast cancer. This is actually good news because it means there are risk factors for breast cancer that can be altered.
Risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Increasing age – women older than 55 have a greater risk of developing breast cancer
- Personal or family history of the disease
- Beginning menstruation before 12 years of age or beginning menopause after the age of 55
- Having your first child after age 35
- Alcohol use
- Radiation exposure such as having radiation treatments to the chest area
- Post menopausal hormone treatments
It is extremely important to know and understand your personal risk factors for developing breast cancer and eliminate or avoid any that can be modified. Diet and weight are extremely important factors. A breast exam should be conducted yearly by your gynecologist and regular mammograms are recommended. Dr. Amy Siegel is a skilled and compassionate physician who can help you understand your risks and provide the screenings you need. Take good care of yourself by calling for an appointment today.