Breast Cancer Facts

Factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer:

  • Being a woman
  • Becoming older – As you age, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer
  • Never having children
  • Having an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer genes
  • A personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • A family history of breast cancer
  • Having high breast density on a mammogram
  • Having you first child after age 35
  • Being overweight after menopause or gaining weight as an adult
  • Current or recent use of birth control pills
  • Being younger than 12 at the time of your first period
  • Having more than one drink of alcohol per day
  • Starting menopause after age 55

Age is a Major Factor!

A woman’s chance of getting breast cancer increases with age. Here are some statistics:

  • Age 20 1 in 1,681
  • Age 30 1 in 232
  • Age 40 1 in 69
  • Age 50 1 in 42
  • Age 60 1 in 29
  • Age 70 1 in 27
  • Lifetime 1 in 8

*Source: American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2011 – 2012.

Myths Vs Facts About Breast Cancer

Myth: Breast cancer only happens in older women.
Fact: While the risk of breast cancer increases with age, ALL women are at risk for getting breast cancer.

Myth: Women with a family history of breast cancer typically get breast cancer.
Fact: Most women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease. However, a woman whose mother, sister or daughter had breast cancer has an increased risk. Having a male relative with breast cancer can also increase your risk.

Myth: If you don’t have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, you won’t get breast cancer.
Fact: About 90 to 95% of women who get breast cancer do not have an inherited form of breast cancer, or a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.

Myth: You can prevent breast cancer.
Fact: The causes of breast cancer are not yet fully known, there is no way to prevent it. However, the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene can help reduce the risk, along with making healthy lifestyle choices.

Myth: Having a mammogram every year exposes you to too much radiation, and that would cause breast cancer.
Fact: The small level of radiation from mammograms is believed to be safe, with the benefits outweighing the risks.

Myth: Breastfeeding can increase my risk of breast cancer.
Fact: Breastfeeding decreases a woman’s risk of getting premenopausal breast cancer.