The next time you are in a room with more than seven women, take a moment to look around. Research tells us that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer death among women, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation .
While we do not know how to prevent cancer, there are proactive steps you can take to lower your risk for developing certain types of cancer, including breast cancer.
A risk factor is a characteristic that increases your likelihood of developing cancer. While the National Breast Cancer Foundation has identified many risk factors for breast cancer, these carry the most weight:
If you live with any of the risk factors listed above, the next step is to check out the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool . This online tool uses your personal medical history and some facts about your family’s health to estimate your breast cancer risk over the next five years and up to age 90 (considered to be your lifetime risk). Of course, this is also an important conversation that all women should have with their doctors, particularly after age 40.
Again, while we do not know how to prevent cancer, leading a healthy lifestyle can go a long way towards lowering your risk for breast cancer. Follow these simple tips to lower your risk and improve your health:
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, the National Breast Cancer Foundation also recommends scheduling regular exams and screenings with your doctor.
Cancers that are detected early are often treated more successfully. Here are some general guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer, by age:
Always consult with your doctor to create a screening schedule that is appropriate for you, given your unique health history and risk factors.
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