Breast Cancer 101

According to the American Cancer Society, a woman’s chance of developing invasive breast cancer is approximately 1 in 8, and the chance that she’ll die from the disease approximately 1 in 35. These alarming numbers prompt many women to learn the facts.

• The majority of breast cancer cases are found in women age 55 and older.

• Having a mother, sister or daughter with breast cancer approximately doubles a woman’s chance of getting the disease herself. However, more than 85% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

• A woman who has dense breast tissue is at greater risk for developing breast cancer.

• A woman who consumes more than one alcoholic beverage per day is estimated to be one and a half times more likely to get breast cancer than a woman who doesn’t consume alcohol at all.

• A woman who is overweight, especially after menopause, is at greater risk of developing breast cancer.

• The symptoms of breast cancer may include a lump, swelling, redness, irritation, hardness, dimpling, discharge or pain.

• Finding breast cancer early increases a woman’s chance of successful treatment.

• The American Cancer Society advises that women begin examining their breasts for changes starting in their 20s, and that women age 40 or older should have both clinical breast exams and mammograms annually. It’s recommended that women at high risk for developing breast cancer should also have annual MRIs.

Use the National Cancer Institute’s online Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool to help estimate your risk of developing breast cancer. To learn more about breast cancer, consult our online Health Library. And to find a doctor at Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth, use our online Find a Physician service.

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