For the general Population - Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women with the exception of nonmelanoma skin cancers. It is the second leading cause of death by cancer in women, following only lung cancer. There is a new diagnosis of breast cancer every 3 minutes and a life loss every 14 minutes. For African American women our statistics are different. Cancer accounts for nearly one-quarter of deaths in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women, and the leading cause of cancer deaths in young African American Women. In 2009, an estimated 194,000 new cases of breast cancer was diagnosed in women in the U.S., of those cases 19,540 were African American women. In general the number of new cases is about 10 percent lower in the African Americans than in Whites. However, the incidence of breast cancer is higher in White women over the age of 45, whereas in African American women the incidence is much higher under the age of 45 and the mortality is worse. We die disporportionately to our white counerparts.
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
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The biggest risk factor for breast cancer is being a woman 100X risk.
Being overweight or significant weight gain increases your risk for breast cancer. More than 33 lbs after age 20 or more than 24 lbs after age 50 is associated with a 60% increase risk for breast cancer.
Age of first period (Menarche)
Starting your period before age 12 is associated with an 30% increase
The second biggest risk factor is getting older. The risk increases as we approach 60-65.
Having abnormal or atypical cells in your breast can put you at a higher risk for breast cancer. The risk can be as high as 20%. You should be enrolled in high risk screening programs. Talk to your doctor.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Taking HRT for more than 5 years increases your lifetime risk by 25%
1-2 drinks/day increases your risk by 10%
1st degree relative with breast cancer under 50 yrs of age or bilateral cancers, men with breast cancer, history of ovarian cancer
Prior exposure to radiation has been associated with an increase risk. Especially mantle radiation for Hodgkins lymphoma
Chemicals in our environment has been seen as a risk.
Conversely breastfeeding has been shown to decrease your risk by 4% if you breastfed for more than 12 months
Dense Breast vs Fatty Breasts
Having dense breasts has been associated with an increase risk for breast cancer as high as 80%
Smoking has been associated with an increase risk for breast cancer