Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and is the second leading cause of death, after lung cancer, in the USA. The National Cancer Institute estimates that over 190,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer annually. Surveys show that it is the cancer most feared by women. Some of the most common risk factors are:
- Age. Two out of three women diagnosed with breast cancer are over 55.
- Family history. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, your risk could be higher than normal.
- Menstrual & reproductive history. Women who started menstruating before the age of 12, who experience late menopause (after 55), have their first child after 40 or who never have children, have a higher than normal risk.
- Lack of physical activity. Women who lead sedentary lifestyles have an increased risk.
- Overweight. Women who are overweight and especially those who are obese, increase their risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause.
- Alcohol consumption. Women who consume alcohol frequently increase their risk. The risk increases with the rate of consumption.
- Hormone replacement therapy. Using HRT, especially after menopause, raises the risk of breast cancer. It also increases the chances that the cancer will be only found in the advanced stages.
- Radiation exposure. Women who have undergone radiation therapy have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer.
Here are 11 symptoms of breast cancer.