How to Determine if You’re at Risk for Breast Cancer
Nearly 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the CDC.
1 in 8 women. With numbers that staggering, it’s more than likely you know someone that’s been impacted directly or indirectly by breast cancer. Maybe it’s even your life that’s been turned upside down by this devastating disease. For many men and women, breast cancer is a very real threat in their lives.
While there’s no cure, we can make efforts to become more informed about our individual risk factors. Unsure if you’re at risk? We’ve listed some of the most common risk factors known to increase your chances of breast cancer below. Read through them to help you decide upon an appropriate breast health plan.
- Unusually early menstrual period. Women who had their period early, before eleven years of age, are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer later in life.
- Aging. As we get older, our cells change and deteriorate, making them more susceptible to mutation. Most breast cancers are diagnosed after 50.
- Late menopause. Just like an early period increases your risk, so does late menopause. Being exposed to estrogen in high amounts for longer periods significantly raises your chances of breast cancer.
- Family and personal history. If your mother, grandmother or sister have been diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, you also have an increased chance of breast cancer. Don’t worry as much if it’s a great aunt or cousin – it’ll have to be a close relation to indicate increased risk. And if you’ve ever been diagnosed with pre-cancerous conditions, like LCIS, make sure you’re making regular appointments to monitor breast health.
- Breast composition. It may sound strange, but more dense, “muscle-y,” breasts have a greater chance of developing abnormal, cancerous cells than less dense, fatty breasts. This simply means that your breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which may make it difficult to see tumors.
- Some birth control. Some birth control pills have been linked to an increased chance of breast cancer. Speak with your physician about your birth control to learn more.
- No pregnancies. If you’ve never carried a pregnancy full term, or you became pregnant only once you were older, you have an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Inactivity and obesity. Women who are significantly overweight and unfit have increased chances of breast cancer. This is especially true for women who are going through menopause.
- Hormone therapy. During and after menopause, women often take hormone pills to alleviate symptoms. If you’re on hormone therapy for longer than 5 years, you have an increased risk for breast cancer.
It’s important to remember that these are only risk factors, which indicate an increased, not guaranteed, chance of breast cancer. Many women have at least one of these factors and are never diagnosed with breast cancer. The best way to decrease your chances of breast cancer are to be well-researched about your individual risk and develop a breast health plan.
Still have questions? Visit here for more information about breast cancer and risk factors.
We support the health of our community, including our mothers, sisters and daughters. Join us in this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and learn more about your individual risk. Let us know if you’ve ever been diagnosed with breast cancer and about your health journey!
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Golden Triangle Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.