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Breast Cancer – What are the Risks?

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A risk factor for breast cancer is anything that raises the chances of acquiring this disease. Some risk factors are out of our control, but others are totally manageable. It is strongly recommended that you talk to your doctor to determine if you are at risk and what preventive steps you can take.

This recommendation is not to be taken lightly because the current statistic for a women developing breast cancer is one in eight in the United States alone. What does that mean exactly? It means that 13 percent of women in the U.S. (over the span of their lifetime) will develop this type of cancer. On average, as reported by BreastCancer.org, women in this country live for 80 years. In numbers, based on projected numbers, this translates to 192,370 new cases of invasive and 62,280 new cases of non-invasive cases of breast cancer a year.

More Statistics

If you are white, you are more likely to develop breast cancer than African American, Asian, Hispanic or Native American women. But due to the aggressive type of tumors African American women tend to develop, they are more likely to die from breast cancer. Scientists do not know why this is so.

A woman’s risk of cancer doubles if she has a close relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who has cancer.

About 5-10 percent of breast cancers are caused by gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father.

Approximately 90 percent of breast cancers are not inherited, but are due to genetic abnormalities which happen as a result of aging.

The most dominant risk factor is gender-based (being female) and age-related (growing older).

Risks That Can Be Controlled

Alcohol consumption
Exposure to estrogen – orally taken
Recent oral contraceptive use
Stress and anxiety

Risks That Cannot Be Controlled

Family history of breast cancer
Personal history of breast cancer
Radiation therapy to chest
Breast cellular changes
Exposure to estrogen – estrogen that is processed naturally
DES exposure

Resources: BreastCancer.org

This article was written by Dita Faulkner. She is a freelance writer living in the South.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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