Breast Cancer Risk Factors

woman holding breast cancer awareness signsGetting a mammogram every year after age 40 is a highly effective tool in discovering breast cancer in its earliest stages. However, a mammogram is only effective at detecting breast abnormalities after they occur. You may be wondering what you can do to lower your risk of getting breast cancer in the first place. Although you can’t change your gender, age, or genetics, there are steps you can take to reduce your breast cancer risks.

Most Prevalent Breast Cancer Risk Factors

The top risks for breast cancer that can’t be controlled by lifestyle choices are:

  • Advancing Age – The risk for breast cancer increases as women age. Two out of three breast cancer diagnoses are for women over 55.
  • Gender – A woman has a one in eight chance of getting breast cancer during her lifetime versus men who have a one in 1,000 chance.
  • Genetics or Family History – Women who have a mother or sister who’s had breast cancer is twice as likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Race – Although white women have a higher overall risk of developing breast cancer than women of different races, women of African descent are more likely to develop more invasive breast cancer at an earlier age.
  • Menstrual Onset – Women who started their periods before age 12 are more likely to get breast cancer later in life. Additionally, menopause after age 55 is also associated with a higher breast cancer risks.
  • Dense Breasts – Women with denser than fatty tissue in their breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer.

Lifestyle Choices that Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

You can reduce breast cancer risks by making healthy lifestyle choices. Consider making the following changes to lower your overall risk:

  • Lose Weight – Heavier women are at increased breast cancer risk and have a higher recurrence rate than women who maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Cut Back on Alcohol Consumption – All kinds of alcoholic beverages are linked to increased hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer risks.
  • Quit Smoking – Women who smoke are more likely to develop breast cancer before menopause.
  • Start an Exercise Regimen – Getting four to seven hours of moderate exercise per week can lower your risk of getting breast cancer
  • Get Enough Vitamin D – Research shows Vitamin D helps promote healthy breast cell growth and may inhibit cancer cells from growing.

Other breast cancer risks are being linked to various chemicals. Potentially harmful chemicals may be present in:

  • Drinking water
  • Sunscreen
  • Lawn pesticides
  • Antibiotics, hormones, and mercury in food
  • Plastic products
  • Cosmetics

Get a Mammogram to Stay on Top of Your Breast Health

With so many breast cancer risks both in and out of your control, it’s important to be proactive in maintaining your breast health. The best course of action is to schedule a yearly mammogram. Mammograms are the single most important tool in the early detection of breast cancer. Mammograms detect tiny abnormalities before you feel any symptoms or notice any changes to your breast tissue. With early detection through mammograms, you have a much greater chance of a positive treatment outcome.

Choose PURE Mammography for Your Next Mammogram

At PURE Mammography, our friendly staff and trained technicians go the extra mile to make your mammogram experience as easy and comfortable as possible. Conveniently located inside Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, we’ll pamper you with a spa-like atmosphere the moment you walk in the door. We don’t require appointments, so you can stop by for a mammogram at a time that’s convenient for you. Call us today at 631-652-3424 to find out more about PURE.

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