Did You Know? Jean Criss is a NOU Magazine Columnist who shares her expertise from first-hand breast health knowledge as a survivor including facts and stats, risk factors, screening and detection, diagnosis, treatment, advancements in technologies, family support, smart healthy foods, and other survivor stories in a new series called Did You Know? In this article she will share over 25 factors that affect breast cancer risk in women today and offer tips and guidance from her personal experience as well.
One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and over 220,000 women are diagnosed each year (CUMC Research). It is estimated that more than 50,000 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ, a non-invasive breast cancer, will be diagnosed in 2016 and there are over 1.7M cases of Breast Cancer Worldwide (Susan G. Komen). According to recent research presented by Columbia University Medical Center and World Cancer Reports, all cancers will rise over the next several years mainly due to growing, aging population worldwide. Great research strides have been made in breast and ovarian cancer with 21 identifiable gene mutations which help identify cancer types and family links to family history whereas just a few years ago there were only two known gene mutations (BRCA1 & BRCA2) when I was diagnosed (OncogeneDX).
Did You Know? Top 25+ Factors that Affect Breast Cancer Risk:
Age @ 1st Childbirth & # of Birth
Age @ 1st Period & Age @ Menopause
Ashkenazi Jewish Heritage
Birth Control Use
Blood Androgen Levels
Breast Density with Mammogram
Family History (Breast, Ovarian or Prostate)
Fruits, Veggies, Carotenoids
Hyperplasia, other Benign Breast Conditions
Inherited Gene Mutations
Light & Night Shift Work
Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS)
Menopausal, Post-Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Overweight & Weight Gain
Personal History of Breast Cancer or Other Cancers
Prolactin Hormone Therapies
Race & Ethnicity
Radiation Exposure in Youth
Many factors are linked to breast cancer risk. Some factors affect risk a great deal and others by only a small amount. Some risk factors you can’t change. For example, the two most common risk factors for breast cancer, being a woman and getting older, are not things you can change. Other factors you may be able to control. For example, leading a healthy lifestyle may help lower your chances of getting breast cancer and knowing your family history can help guide you to better breast awareness. Understanding which factors may affect your risk can help you work with your health care provider to address any concerns you may have and develop a breast cancer screening plan that is right for you.
If you have any concerns, I always felt confident to ask questions with my physician/s. Don’t fear. Fear can cause more pain and tackling the truth for smart breast health and awareness may save your life! Lowering your risk starts by being aware of your potential risk factors and maintaining a healthy attitude and lifestyle is Smart Breast Health Awareness! As a former Susan G. Komen Board of Trustee, I learned a lot about breast health awareness while serving for a local affiliate during my post-recovery period. Now I’d like to help you think pink and spread the word.
To learn more about Breast Cancer Screening, Tools & Resources offered by Susan G. Komen National Research Foundation turn to; http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/About_Breast_Cancer/Tools_and_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Breast_Self_Awareness_Cards/BreastCancerRiskFactors.pdf.
For a list of inconclusive risk factors under study as noted by Susan G. Komen, take a look at these facts; http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/FactorsUnderStudy.html
For a list of Risk Factors reported by Columbia University Breast Surgery http://columbiasurgery.org/conditions-and-treatments/breast-cancer and to learn more about an indepth discussion on the future of cancer research by Columbia University Top Docs, preview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4szND0h4dR4
My Motto: Don’t Let Cancer Get the BREAST of You!