It’s important to talk with your doctor about your individual risk factors for developing breast cancer. A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease. Having one or more of the following risk factors does not mean that a person will get breast cancer. However, not having any of these risk factors doesn’t mean that a person will not get breast cancer.
Risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Increased age
- Menstruating or menopause at an early age
- Having a first child at age 30 or never having given birth
- A personal history of breast cancer
- A mother or sister diagnosed with breast cancer
- Previous radiation therapy to the breast/chest for pediatric cancer
- Dense breast tissue identified through mammograms
- Drinking alcoholic beverages
- Gene mutations in your family, such as BRCA 1 or 2
- Obesity after menopause
- Lack of physical activity
The best prevention is awareness and early detection
Breast cancer awareness begins with emphasis on prevention and early detection. It is important to be aware of changes in your breast tissue and also have an exam done yearly by a healthcare professional. These exams help identify changes that have occurred in the breast tissue. If you recognize any changes in how your breasts look or feel, it is important to talk with your doctor, discuss these changes and decide about appropriate follow-up care.
Heredity sometimes plays a role in who will develop breast cancer. For your peace of mind, the Akron General Reflections Breast Health Center offers a High Risk Clinic for women at elevated risk. For more information, call 330-344 BRST (2778).