Who is at Risk for Breast Cancer?
With an estimated 1 in 8 women in the United States likely to develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, the risk of this disease cuts across all ethnicities and socioeconomic classes. While major advancements have been made in successfully fighting the disease when it is caught early, an estimated 40,000 Americans will still die from it in 2014 alone.
Considering those figures, it is vital for women – and men – to understand their risks and the measures they can take to reduce them.
Here are just a few of the risks:
- Being a woman – While it’s true that men do in fact get breast cancer, too, the disease is more common in women. It is estimated that some 190,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in America this year alone.
- Age – As it goes with a host of other conditions, age does play a factor. Roughly two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55 and older.
- Family history and genetics – These both play a big role in the likelihood that breast cancer will develop. If a woman has a close relative or relatives who have been diagnosed with the disease, screening is crucial since the changes of getting the disease are roughly doubled. Genetics plays a role here, as well.
- Personal history – Anyone who has already faced down breast cancer is three to four times more likely to have a new cancer develop in the other breast or a different portion of the same breast.
- Ethnicity – While breast cancer is found in all races, African American, Hispanic, and Asian women have a slightly higher chance of developing the disease.
- Obesity – Being overweight can increase the risk of breast cancer along with a host of other diseases. This is especially so after menopause.
- Smoking – This habit is linked with a higher incidence rate of breast cancer.
- Low Vitamin D levels – Some research has indicated that lower levels of this vitamin can contribute to risk.
While it is not possible to prevent every case of breast cancer, there are steps that can be taken to lower personal risk. In addition to taking these steps, it’s also critical for those at risk to go in for routine screening exams.