1 in 8 Women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime.
- About 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2014
- A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1000
- The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a women’s death is 1 in 36.
- About 40,000 women will die from breast cancer
- There are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States
- Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women.
Now that you know the facts, you also need to know if you are at risk. There are some risk factors that you cannot change, like the fact that you are a women, your age and family history, but there are other risk factors called lifestyle-related risk factors that you should know about.
- Being a mom reduces your risk. Having no children or having your first child after you are 30 slightly increases your risk for breast cancer.
- Birth Control. Women who use oral contraceptives (birth control pills) or the Depo-Provera (the shot) have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer also. Women who stopped using the pill more than 10 years ago and women who got the shot more than 5 years ago have very little to worry about though.
- Breastfeeding. Research says that breastfeeding lowers your risk for breast cancer especially if you continue to breastfed for more than 18 months. For more information about the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby check out Baby Café at http://www.sanantonio.gov/Health/HealthServices/BabyCafe.aspx or call 210-207-7138.
- Alcohol. Drinking alcohol is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and the risk increases as the amount increases.
- Being overweight or obese after menopause increases risk for breast cancer.
- Being physical active by exercising reduces the risk for breast cancer. Doing as little as 75 minutes to 150 minutes of brisk walking per week reduces the risk by 18%.
We have covered the facts about breast cancer, and the risks. Now let’s talk about some signs and symptoms. These are the things to look out for. If you notice any one of these, see your doctor soon.
1. A lump or mass in the breast tissue
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- A nipple discharge other than breast milk
Lastly, early detection can save YOUR life. So here is what you have to do:
- If you are over 40 years old, get a mammogram every year!
- Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam performed by a health professional every 3 years. After age 40 women should get a clinical breast exam as well as a mammogram every year.
- In your 20s, start doing Breast Self-Exams. Know the normal look and feel for your breasts. This will help you to know if anything changes. If something does change, or poses a concern to you, see your doctor right away.
- If you are 50 to 74 years old, it is recommended you get a mammogram every 2 years.
This is just the tip of the Breast Cancer iceberg. There is tons of great information, resources, organizations for research funding and support groups out there for women and family members who are affected by breast cancer. Check out resources like Susan G Komen Foundation, American Cancer Society, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sources: American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/breastcancerawareness/