Are You At Higher Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer. Those two words are enough to send shivers down every woman’s spine, as most of us know someone who has either fought or lost their lives battling it out.

A cancer that does not discriminate, breast cancer is a killer disease which has taken the lives of many women of all ages and races.  In 2017 alone, more than 40,610 women are expected to lose the fight against breast cancer and die.

With these startling numbers, it’s important to know if you have a higher risk of developing this deadly disease, and what steps you can take to help prevent or spot it early on.

What’s the biggest chance of developing breast cancer?

Being a woman.

Yes, just by being born a woman, the chance of developing breast cancer is high.

Breastcancer.org reported:

“Just being a woman is the biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer. There are about 190,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 60,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer this year in American women. While men do develop breast cancer, less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases happen in men. Approximately 2,000 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American men this year.”

Breastcancer.org also reports having radiation to the face (such as acne treatment) before the age of 30, low vitamin D levels, and exposure to chemicals can also increase your risk of developing breast cancer.

In addition, being overweight and lack of exercise can dramatically stack the odds against you.

But don’t lose hope.

If you’ve not already developed a healthy exercise routine, you can start today. Even something as simple as going for a walk each night, or every other night is helpful.

In addition to keeping off the weight, Parents reported on several other items which lower your risk for developing breast cancer:

“If you can breastfeed, it lowers your breast cancer risk. “Women who breastfeed have sustained lower levels of the hormone prolactin, and high prolactin levels are directly related to breast cancer, as they are important in cell division and proliferation of breast tissue,” Dr. Colditz says.

The greatest benefit comes from breastfeeding for one year or more total across all children.

You may know your chance is greater if your sister or mother had breast cancer, but be sure to look at both sides of your family to assess your true genetic risk.

“For some women with a strong family history, cancer risk can be significantly higher,” Dr. Colditz says. “Important markers for this type of family history include having multiple family members with cancer, especially at younger ages; a single family member who has had multiple different cancers; and breast cancer in male family members.”

If that’s the case, your doctor may send you for genetic counseling or testing, and you might need to start breast cancer screenings early and more often.”

Early diagnosis is absolutely critical.

It’s recommended women over 40 have mammograms every 1 to 2 years, and those under 40 with higher risk (such as genetics) should work out a plan with their doctor on when to start and the frequency of mammograms.

And don’t underestimate breast self-examinations at home.

No one knows your body better than you.

If you discover a lump or something that feels suspicious, contact your doctor right away, and set up an appointment.

Ladies, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. If you currently do not perform self-examinations or have regular mammograms, please don’t delay any longer.

While it’s not possible to guarantee you will never get breast cancer, early prevention is key, and an early diagnosis just might save your life.

Have you known someone who is either battling or has lost their life to breast cancer?

Were you shocked at the startling numbers of women who battle breast cancer each day?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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