Breast cancer in women: Taking Action to End Breast Cancer

In the United States, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer can occur in men, but it is rare. The fact is that no one is immune from the effects of breast cancer. And even if you happen to never experience breast cancer yourself, chances for a lifetime, you’ll know someone who has.

Treatment of Breast Cancer

A Look at Common and Uncommon Types of Breast Cancer

Did you know there are many different types of breast cancer? From pre-cancerous breast disease to breast cancer in men, different types of cancer impact your treatment options and outcomes. Making sense of the words and terms associated with a cancer diagnosis can help you to be a more informed patient.

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Breast Cancer Risk Factors

The exact cause of breast cancer has not been established, but there are risk factors that may play a role. A risk factor is a symptom or behavior that increases a person's chance of developing a disease or makes a person susceptible to a certain condition. Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Being female. Breast cancer can occur in men, but it is rare.

  • Aging. Your risk of developing breast cancer increases with age. About 77% of women diagnosed with breast cancer every year are over 50 years old, and half - at the age of 65 and over.

  • Having a family history of breast cancer. Having a mother, sister, or daughter (a "first-degree relative") who has breast cancer puts you at higher risk for the disease. The risk is even greater if your relative developed breast cancer before menopause and had cancer in both breasts.

  • Alcohol. The use of alcohol is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Compared with nondrinkers, women consuming one alcoholic drink a day have a 10% risk of increase, and those who have two or three drinks daily have about 20% to 30% higher risk than women who do not drink alcohol. It is also known that alcohol increases the risk of developing cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus.

  • Reproductive history. Having your first child after 30 years of age or lack of children can increase the chances of breast cancer. Getting your period early in life (before age 12) and reaching menopause after age 55 are also risk factors.

  • Unhealthy Lifestyle. Being overweight (especially in the upper body), and eating a diet high in calories and fat increase a woman’s chance of breast cancer. Fortunately, this is a behavior that can be changed.

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