If you are a woman you are at risk for breast cancer. Continue reading to learn more about how to prevent it.
The risk for developing breast cancer depends on a combination of lifestyle factors and personal characteristics known as “risk factors.” The following risk factors are related to breast cancer and can help you gather information to share with your doctor or healthcare professional.
- A family history of breast cancer, especially your mother, sister(s) or daughter(s).
- Age-in general, the older you are, the greater the risk.
- Not having biological children.
- Having your first son or daughter after 30 years of age.
- First menstruation at a very early age.
- A history of diseases of the mammary gland requiring biopsies.
- Hormonal Factors: the use of hormone replacement therapy can link you to an increase in the risk for breast cancer.
- Diet and lifestyle: studies find that there is an increased risk for breast cancer among women who consume alcohol and have diets that are high in fat. Exercise (especially in young women) is associated with a lowering the risk for breast cancer.
Some risk factors, such as age and family history, cannot be modified; others can. It is for this reason you must know about the preventive measures you can take to change some risk factors that can be modified, such as:
- Eating a healthy diet that includes vitamins, antioxidants, fruits, and vegetables.
- Avoiding being overweight and exercising regularly.
- Reducing the length of time you use birth control.
- If possible, getting pregnant prior to the age of 35.
- Breastfeeding for at least 6 months.
- Limiting or avoiding the use of alcohol.
- Doing breast self-examination each month, seven days following your menstruation. If you do not menstruate, choose a day of the month and do your self-exam on the same day every month.
- Visit your gynecologist every year so that he or she can do a breast exam.
- The American Cancer Society recommends a mammography (to help identify any change in your breasts) for women between the ages of 35 and 39 (first mammogram) and for women 40 and older, an annual mammogram.
- If there is a history of breast cancers in your family, talk with your doctor and ask about genetic testing and whether or not such a test may be of benefit to you. If there is a genetic mutation, different alternatives exist to prevent the development of breast cancer.