Breast cancer is very common. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. And while all women are at risk for breast cancer, some women are at a higher risk than others. That’s one of the reasons why breast cancer risk assessment is important.
Since not all women are at the same risk for developing breast cancer, it’s important that every woman assess her personal risk and work with her doctor to develop a plan to stay safe from breast cancer. There are things that you can do to help reduce your risk of breast cancer, but just reducing your risk is not enough.
You have to know your personal risk for breast cancer, and know how to use that information. That’s where risk assessment comes in.
Early detection is one of the best things that you can do to increase your chances of preventing or surviving breast cancer. Detecting cancer in its early stages means that it can be treated sooner, thus increasing your chance of overcoming cancer.
Understanding your own personal risk provides crucial information. Knowing your personal risk of developing breast cancer can tell you what type of screening you need, and how often you need that type of breast cancer screening.
The Breast Center recommends that all women begin annual screening mammograms starting at age 40. Of course, if you’re at a higher risk for breast cancer, your doctor may suggest that you start mammograms earlier, or consider biannual doctor examinations in addition to yearly mammography.
What does risk assessment cover?
Risk assessment looks at many different aspects of your life. Information that can help a doctor determine your personal risk includes:
- Family history with breast cancer, ovarian cancer and some other types of cancer. Did your grandmother have breast cancer? Did your mother and her sister have breast cancer?
- Your age. The older you get, the higher your risk for breast cancer.
- Your height and weight. There’s a strong link between obesity and breast cancer.
- History of breast cancer or other breast health problems.
- History of other types of cancer. Having certain types of cancer can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
- Dense breast tissue.
- How old were you when you started your periods? Women who started periods before the age of 12 are at a higher risk for breast cancer.
Things that you can do to help reduce your risk for breast cancer.
There are a few things that any woman can do to help reduce her risk for breast cancer.
- Eat a healthy diet that is high in fruits and vegetables.
- Get plenty of exercise, at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Limit alcoholic beverages
- Do not smoke. Smoking is bad for your health in a number of ways, and it increases your risk for breast cancer
- Giving birth to children after the age of 30 greatly increases your risk for breast cancer.
- Get regular breast cancer screenings
- Assess your risk of breast cancer.
Take our Breast Cancer Quiz
To learn more about your personal risk for breast cancer, take our Breast Cancer Risk Quiz.
How do you schedule a risk assessment for breast cancer?
You can schedule a breast cancer risk assessment with the Breast Center by calling 479-442-6266. Learn more about risk assessment and customized screening plans at The Breast Center.