Breast Cancer Stats:

  • 70% of all breast cancer is due to normal aging
  • 20-30% is due to family history in relation to first degree relatives
  • 5-10% of women have some form of breast cancer due to genetic mutation
  • 2nd most commonly diagnosed cancer in women

Breast Cancer Awareness


Who's at Risk?

Being female is the #1 risk factor. Normal aging of cells causes mutations that can cause cancer. The majority of breast cancers are NOT hereditary. 

A positive family history in a first degree relative (mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother )also increases risk. The inherited BRCA1, BRCA2 gene mutation causes 20-25% of all inherited breast cancers, 5-10% of all breast cancers, and increases the risk of developing other cancers. Other risk factors include:personal history of breast cancer, hyperplasia in breast or ovarian cancer,obesity, high breast density,alcohol consumption,vitamin D deficiency,early menses,never having children,having first child after age 35, menopause after 55 and current or recent hormone replacement therapy.

Monthly Breast Self-Exam (BSE)

The monthly BSE allows you to become more familiar with your body. If you know what is normal for you, then a BSE will allow you to know what is abnormal for you.

Schedule Clinical Breast Exam (CBE)

This should be done by your healthcare provider at your annual physical for women 40-years and older. Additionally, women in their 20s and 30s should receive a CBE every three years.

Annual Mammogram

Every woman needs to begin annual screening mammograms at age 40.

As always, a prompt follow-up is needed in the event of an abnormal mammogram. Do not wait and do not diagnose yourself. Tell a family member or friend. Your support group keeps you focused and helps decrease anxiety, as well as denial.


What Actions Should Be Taken to Decrease Risk?

Lose Weight

    • Belly fat is a strong predictor of disease. Maintain a BMI below 25

Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet

    • Low fat (<20% of daily caloric intake from fat) 
    • Five cups of vegetables and fruit per day
    • Increase intake of foods with omega 3 fatty acids
    • Decrease trans fats, red meats, charred or smoked foods 

Monitor Vitamin D Levels

    • Participate in moderate physical activity 

Decrease Alcohol Consumption

    • One drink per day increases your risk and each drink after the first one is an additional risk
    • There are recommendations to drink a glass of red wine per day to decrease risk of heart disease. ( A glass of red grape juice allows the same protective effect for heart disease as a glass of red wine without increasing the risk of breast cancer.


Common Myths

  • Breast cancer is preventable. - (The goal is to reduce your chances of developing breast cancer.) 
  • Only older women get cancer. - (Breast cancer affects women of all ages.)
  • Having a risk factor means you will get the disease. - (Not all people with risk factors will develop breast cancer.)
  • No risk factors mean that you won’t get the disease. - (You can have no risk factors and develop disease.)
  • Mammography is too much radiation. - (The amount of radiation from mammography is minimal and is  a benefit that outweighs the risk.)
  • Only your mother’s family history is important. - (Family history of both parents is essential.)
  • All breast masses are cancerous. - (There are benign and malignant breast masses. You cannot determine this without clinical evaluation.)
  • Small breasts have less chance of cancer. 
  • Mastectomy is better than conservative therapy. - (There may be recurrent disease in lymph nodes.Each person and diagnosis is different. The treatment plan that is best for one person may not be the best plan for another. Therapy is designed for each individual.)
  • You can’t get breast cancer after mastectomy. - (Breast cancer can recur in the chest wall and lymph nodes.  Metastatic disease may occur in other areas. Follow-up appointments are essential.)
  • Breast cancer may be found in the chest wall after mastectomy. 
  • Other myths include the exposing tumor to air during surgery, breast implants, fibrocystic disease, abortions, useof  under wire bras, antiperspirants, caffeine,hair straightening chemicals,living near power lines, fertility treatments and fibrocystic disease.