Are You At Risk For Breast Cancer? by:Anne Childs
Each year, millions of women learn that they have developed breast cancer. Despite most commonly being found in women, breast cancer can also be diagnosed in men. That is why breast cancer is often considered one of the most common types of all diagnosable cancers. Fortunately, you if you are diagnosed as having cancer, there are a number of treatment options that may help you become cancer free. However, before that can occur, you need to be diagnosed as having breast cancer.
When it comes to being diagnosed with breast cancer, a large amount of focus is placed on the signs and symptoms. While it is important to focus on the symptoms of breast cancer, they are not the only things that you should keep in mind. Although an exact cause of breast cancer has yet to be determined, there are a number of risk factors associated with the cancer. Determining whether or not any of these risk factors apply to you is one of the best ways, aside from regularly examining your body, to determine whether or not you may have breast cancer or end up developing it in the future.
You may be at a greater risk of developing breast cancer if someone else in your immediate family has also been diagnosed with having it. It has been noted that the BRCA1 gene and the BRCA2 gene have something to do with the development of breast cancer. Research is still being conducted on this; however, it is looking as if damaged cells, which may later account for breast cancer, are being passed down through family members. Therefore, if someone in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, there is a good chance that you may also develop it.
Your age may also increase your risk of developing breast cancer. While it is important to remember that breast cancer can occur at just about any age, there are a group of men and women who are more at risk. Those individuals are likely over the age of fifty. That is why it is recommended that all women over the age of forty undergo a yearly mammogram. Until that age, a self breast exam, performed by yourself or by a healthcare professional, should be enough.
When you first started your menstrual cycle, as well as when it ended, may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. It has been noted that those who began their periods before the age of twelve are at an increased risk for developing breast cancer, later on in life. The same, in a way, can be said for menopause. Recent studies have shown that the later a woman begins menopause, the more at risk she is for developing breast cancer. Menopause should begin around the age of fifty-five. If it starts to occur any later, you will want to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and birth control pills have been known to increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. These risk factors are not as high as the above mentioned risk factors, but a connection between breast cancer, hormone replacement therapy, as well as birth control pills has been established. Therefore, if you are currently on birth control pills or are undergoing hormone replacement therapy, it may be a good idea to speak to a healthcare professional. Your OBGYN or primary care physician should be more than willing to give you inside and updated information on the connection between breast cancer and these two widely used medications.
In addition to hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, a family history, late menopause, early menstrual periods, and age, there are a number of other risk factors that have been connected to breast cancer. These additional risk factors include, are not limited to, radiation, and excessive alcohol consumption. Now that you know whether or not you are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, you may be able to better prepare yourself for what you may find, now or in the future.
If, at any point, you notice a lump in your breast or have unexplained breast pain, you are advised to seek medical assistance immediately. The sooner breast cancer is detected, the sooner it can be treated and gone from your life, hopefully forever.
About the author
Anne Childs is a contributor to http://www.healthline.com who has also conducted many seminars to raise awareness on http://www.healthline.com/channel/breast-cancer.html, and other conditions which women are most susceptible to.