Breast Cancer Prevention
Knowing your risk level and protecting yourself
Many women become uncomfortable with the issue of breast cancer. It may have touched our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, neighbors, friends and possibly even us. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), one out of every eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Not surprisingly, it is a disease that has become personal to each of us in some way.
Those statistics, however, are not meant to scare, but motivate, because women are not powerless against breast cancer. Those numbers can potentially decline if we all learn as much as we can about breast cancer and its prevention and then act on these prevention measures to guard against the disease.
Factors that determine a women's risk of developing breast cancer include:
- Family History - Risk of developing breast cancer is increased if a member of your immediate family-mother, sister(s) or daughter(s)-has had the disease.
- Age - The older you are the greater your risk, especially in post-menopausal women, although women (and men) of any age can develop the disease.
- Menstruation - If you had your first menstrual cycle at an early age or stopped menstruating (experienced menopause) at a late age, your risk increases.
- Childbirth - If you have not had a child or had your first child after age 30 your risk increases.
- Breast Conditions - Higher risk is also associated with a history of benign breast disease that requires biopsies, as well as other breast conditions such as lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia.
Call St. Luke's Breast Care Center or talk to your doctor about your risk level for developing breast cancer. Talking to a physician about breast cancer early is critical in its prevention, in addition to following the general preventive guidelines below:
- Conduct a monthly breast self-exam
- Schedule a yearly breast exam with your physician
- Have a yearly mammogram after the age of 40
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating a healthy diet, refraining from smoking and consuming no or low amounts of alcohol.
St. Luke's Breast Care Center provides comprehensive breast care for women including mammography, ultrasound and biopsy services, board-certified surgeons who specialize in breast care, oncology support counseling, educational materials on breast care and self-exams, and research into new treatments and prevention measures for breast cancer.
For more information, please call 314-205-6491.