Breast Cancer Awareness and Facts
With the month of October being "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," Alert1 decided to share some facts about breast cancer. Learn more about breast cancer, your risk level, and how to help prevent breast cancer below. If you are looking for more information, you may want to read our blog post about breast cancer here.
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What is Breast Cancer?
Cancer is a term used to describe a disease characterized by
abnormal cell growth in a part of the body, like the breast. A clump of
abnormal cell growth is called a tumor. Tumors can either be benign (harmless)
or malignant (harmful). Malignant tumors are harmful because they can spread
(metastasize) to other parts of the body, affecting healthy cells. These
affected body parts will develop secondary malignant tumors near the primary
Both men and women are susceptible to developing breast
cancer, but the majority of cases occur in females. In fact, 1 in 8 women in
the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
The most commonly diagnosed cancer in women is breast
cancer. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
Determining Your Risk Level
To determine your risk level for breast cancer, consider
- Gender. Women
are at the greatest risk for breast cancer. Less than 1% of all breast cancers
occur in men.
- Age. The
risk of developing breast cancer increases with age because most cancers
develop slowly over time. Women older than age 50 are at the greatest risk.
menstruation. Women who had their first menstrual period before age 12 have
a higher chance of developing breast cancer. The earlier a woman starts her
period, the longer her exposure to the female hormone estrogen. There is a link
between estrogen exposure and breast cancer.
How You Can Prevent Breast Cancer
Taking preventative measures can reduce your risk of
developing breast cancer:
a healthy body weight. Being overweight increases your risk of breast
cancer. This is especially true if the weight gain occurred post-menopause.
active. An active lifestyle helps you maintain a healthy body weight, which
reduces your risk of breast cancer.
your alcohol intake. Research confirms a link between breast cancer and alcohol
consumption—the more you drink, the greater your risk. Limit yourself to less
than 1 drink per day.
smoking. There are overwhelming amounts of evidence that suggest a
relationship between smoking and breast cancer risk.
exposure to radiation and environmental pollution. Some research suggests a
correlation between breast cancer and radiation exposure. Limit your exposure
to radiation by only getting x-rays when absolutely necessary.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Breast cancer is a tough topic to talk about, but knowledge
is power. Use this knowledge and take preventative measures to reduce your risk
of developing breast cancer. Don’t stress about things that may or may not
happen—just take control now and be happy.