Breast Cancer: Risks, Prevention, Detection, and Treatment

In America, approximately 1 in 8 women will have to deal with invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer American women develop. Considering so many women do have to deal with breast cancer, it is important to understand the risks, preventions, detections, and treatments.


Gender and age are two of the biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer. There are about 190,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer per year as well as 60,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Women who are 55 or older have an increased risk. Family history and genetics play a big role as well. Women who have a personal history of breast cancer are more likely to develop and recurrence. Studies have also shown that being overweight, not getting enough exercise, and drinking alcohol can all cause an increased risk of breast cancer.


One good way to prevent breast cancer is to simply life a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to be physically active, eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, avoid excessive alcohol, and maintain a healthy weight. Another thing you can do is to avoid birth control pills, especially after age 35, avoid post-menopausal hormones, and avoid smoking. Most of these practices are good for anyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle with the added benefit of preventing cancer and other diseases.


It’s important to practice self-breast exams regularly. Make sure you understand the proper way to perform a self-breast exam. Begin by observing the breasts and making sure that they are their usual shape, size, and color. If you see changes such as redness, soreness, swelling, or rash, alert your physician. Then feel your left breast with your right hand and your right breast with your left hand while lying down. Be sure to cover the entire breast to check for tenderness and lumps.

Mammograms are also important diagnostic tools. Women age 40 and older should have regular mammograms. Women with increased factors for breast cancer should have more frequent mammograms. If you have questions and concerns about how often you should be receiving a mammogram, be sure to discuss the matter with your doctor. It’s important to stay up-to-date on these examinations so that if you do develop breast cancer, the doctors will able to catch it early on.


There are many ways to treat breast cancer. In some women, a mastectomy will be recommended. Others may need to pursue chemotherapy and radiation. Others may need to pursue both. Some women will choose to pursue alternative forms of therapy and treatment. The best thing to do if you are faced with the decision of how to treat breast cancer is to consult several physicians and understand all of your options thoroughly.

Breast cancer can indeed be a scary and serious problem in America. It’s important that you take action to decrease your risks, prevent breast cancer where you can, and get regular screenings and exams. For more information on breast cancer prevention and treatment, have a look at

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