About 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer at some time in her life. Although this oft-repeated ratio has frightened many women, it represents a woman’s lifetime risk. Thus, not until the age of 80 does a woman’s risk of breast cancer rise to 1 in 8. Here is the risk at earlier ages:
-    Birth to age 39: 1 in 227
-    Ages 40-59: 1 in 25
-    Ages 60-79: 1 in 15 Birth to death: 1 in 8
In 2000, approximately 182,800 women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. About 1,400 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in men in 2000. About 41,200 women (and 400 men) would die, making breast cancer the second leading cause of cancer death for women. According to the most recent data, mortality rates went down dramatically from 1992 to 1996, with the largest decrease in younger women, both white and black. The decline in rates may be due to earlier diagnosis and improved treatment as numerous studies have shown that early detection increases survival and treatment options.
Warning signals of breast cancer include persistent breast changes such as a lump, thickening, swelling, dimpling, skin irritation, distortion, retraction or scaliness of the nipple, nipple discharge, possible pain, or tenderness.

Risk Factors
The risk of breast cancer increases with age. Although there are many possible risk factors, those that seem to be supported in the research include these:
-    Women who have a personal or family history of breast cancer (primary relatives such as mother, daughter, sister)
-    Women with a biopsy-confirmed atypical hyperplasia
-    Women with a long menstrual history (menstrual periods that started early and ended late in life)
-    Women who’ve had recent use of oral contraceptives or postmenopausal estrogens
-    Women who’ve never had children or had their first child after age 30
-    Women who consume two or more drinks of alcohol per day
-    Women who have higher education and socioeconomic status
Those risk factors that need more rigorous research before being confirmed include these:
-    Consuming a diet high in saturated fats
-    Exposure to pesticides and other chemicals
-    Weight gain
-    Physical inactivity
-    Use of selected estrogen-receptor modulators (SERMs) such as tamoxifen and raloxifen
-    Possible genetic predisposition through BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 12:25 pm and is filed under Cancer. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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