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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is one of the most lethal and common diseases affecting women in the United States; it is diagnosed in 1 in 8 U.S. women and its female mortality rate remains higher than that of all other types of cancer besides lung cancer. But, that doesn’t mean breast cancer is necessarily fatal. Acknowledging risk factors and going in for yearly checkups allow early diagnoses which makes all the difference when fighting cancer.

What Risk Factors?

66% of invasive breast cancer cases are women older than 55(American Cancer Society).

Family & Personal History

Family history of breast cancer increases your risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. If the family member diagnosed is a "first degree" relative (mother, sister, daughter), your risk of being diagnosed doubles. If you have an extensive family history (several first-degree or second-degree relatives who have had breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancers), the United States Preventive Service Task Force recommends screening for BRCA genetic mutation.

BRCA Genetic Mutation

BRCA genetic mutation occurs in the genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 and is one of the strongest risk factors for breast and ovarian cancers. Your healthcare provider can screen your risk via a questionnaire. If you are at risk you will be referred to a genetic counselor who will guide you through your decision to be tested for these genetic mutations.

Race & Ethnicity

White women are the most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in comparison to African-American, Asian, Latina, or Native American women. However, breast cancer fatality rates are higher for African-American women than any other race as African-American women tend to have more aggressive types of breast cancer tumors.

How do I get diagnosed early?

A mammogram – the x-ray screening test for breast cancer – can diagnose breast cancer early when it is easier to treat. It allows a qualified specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas. The breast is exposed to a small dose of iodizing radiation that produces an image of the breast tissue. The American Cancer Society and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that all women at or above the age of 40 schedule yearly mammograms.

Learn more about breast cancer from A.D.A.M.'s responsive Wellness Tools located within our SmartEngage product. If you have more questions? Ask A Doctor. If you are interested in licensing our content, please contact us.

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