Facts About Breast
Cancer in the USA
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Can physical activity reduce the risk of breast
Exercise pumps up the immune system and lowers estrogen
levels. With as little as four hours of exercise per
week, a woman can begin to lower her risk of breast
Can a healthy diet help prevent breast cancer?
A nutritious, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and
vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing breast
cancer. A high-fat diet increases the risk because fat
triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumor growth.
Does smoking cause breast cancer?
At this point in time there is no conclusive link between
smoking and breast cancer. However, due to the number
of health risks associated with smoking, quitting can
significantly increase survival rates.
Can drinking alcohol increase the risk of
One or two drinks a day has been shown to slightly increase
the risk of breast cancer. The greater the levels consumed,
the higher the risk.
Is there a link between oral contraceptives
and breast cancer?
There is an increased risk of breast cancer for women
under 35 who have been using birth control pills for
more than ten years.
How often should I do a breast self-exam (BSE)?
Give yourself a breast self-exam at least once a month.
Look for any changes in breast tissue, such as changes
in size, a lump, dimpling or puckering of the breast,
or a discharge from the nipple. If you discover a persistent
lump in your breast or any changes in breast tissue,
it is very important that you see a physician immediately.
However, 8 out of 10 lumps are benign, or not cancerous.
Does a family history of breast cancer put
someone at a higher risk?
If you have a grandmother, mother, sister, or daughter
who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, this does
put you in a higher risk group. Have a baseline mammogram
at least five years before the age of breast cancer
onset in any close relatives, or starting at age 35.
See your physician at any sign of unusual symptoms.
Are Mammograms Painful?
Mammography does compress the breasts and can sometimes
cause slight discomfort for a very brief period of time.
Patients who are sensitive should schedule their mammograms
a week after their menstrual cycle so that the breasts
are less tender.
How does menstrual and reproductive history
affect breast cancer risks?
Women who began their menstrual cycles before age 12,
have no children, or had their first child at 30 or
older, or began menopause after 55 are at a higher risk.
How Often Should I Go To My Doctor For A Checkup?
You should have a physical every year. If any unusual
symptoms or changes in your breasts occur before your
scheduled visit, do not hesitate to see the doctor immediately.
What Kind Of Impact Does Stress Have On Breast
Although some studies have shown that factors such as
traumatic events and losses can alter immune system
functions, these studies have not provided any evidence
of a direct cause-and-effect relationship between stress
and breast cancer. An area currently being studied is
whether or not stress reduction can improve immune response
and slow progression in women diagnosed with breast
For more information about breast cancer including
common myths and facts, please visit the National Breast
Cancer Foundation, Inc. by clicking here.