Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect American women. Based on what we now know, about 12% of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Because your health is our priority, the team of doctors here at Desert West Surgery in Las Vegas has compiled this guide to five of the most common factors — including a few that you can control — that increase your risk for developing breast cancer.
The majority of breast cancer cases are diagnosed after the age of 50, which means that your risk for developing breast cancer increases as you age. If you’re over 50, you should schedule regular appointments to screen for breast cancer. When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is important.
Being overweight also increases your risk for developing breast cancer, a risk that increases for women who’ve reached menopause. After menopause, fat tissue becomes your body’s main source of estrogen. Increased fat tissue means higher estrogen levels, and higher estrogen levels mean a higher risk of breast cancer.
If you inherit genetic mutations of the BRCA1 and BRC2 genes — also known as the breast cancer genes — you’re at higher risk for developing breast (and ovarian) cancer. You can get tested to see if you have any issues with these genes.
Studies show that women increase their risk for breast cancer the more they drink. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women limit their alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day — 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine, for example.
Some oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have been shown to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Certain forms of hormone replacement therapy used during menopause that include both estrogen and progesterone, if taken for over five years, can also raise your risk.
Breast cancer prevention and treatment
Some factors increase your risk more than others, and some women (and men) develop breast cancer even if they don’t have risk factors. Still, statistically, having more risk factors increases your risk of developing breast cancer, so you want to talk to your doctor about ways to help you address as many of these risk factors as possible.
If, however, you’ve discovered a lump in your breast and need a biopsy or breast surgery, such as a mastectomy or lumpectomy, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced, skilled, and compassionate team here at Desert West Surgery. Call us at one of our three convenient Las Vegas locations to set up an appointment today.