Understanding certain risk factors about your health is a key component in living a healthy life; and understanding the risk factors associated with breast cancer is an equally important tool for you to use in monitoring your breast health. Some of them you cannot change, some you can.
Today, at ThermApproach, we want to take a look at seven risk factors of breast cancer.
A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease, in this case, breast cancer. However, having a risk factor, or even many, doesn’t mean that you are sure to get a disease.
Having a family history of breast cancer:
It’s important to note that most women - about 8 out of 10 – who get breast cancer DO NOT HAVE a family history of the disease. Women who have a close blood relative with breast cancer are at higher risk:
· Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer almost doubles a woman’s risk. Having 2 first-degree relatives increases her risk about 3-fold.
· Women with a father or brother who have had breast cancer also have a higher risk of breast cancer.
Overall, less than 15% of women with breast cancer have a family member with this disease.
Being a woman:
Just being a woman is the biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer. There are about 190,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 60,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer this year in women living in America.
Certain inherited genes:
About 5-10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary.
BRCA1 and BRCA2: The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. In normal cells, these genes help make proteins that repair damaged DNA. Mutated versions of these genes can lead to abnormal cell growth, which can lead to cancer.
If you have inherited a mutated copy of either gene from a parent, you have a higher risk of breast cancer.
· On average, a woman with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation has about a 7 in 10 chance of getting breast cancer by age 80. This risk is also affected by how many other family members have had breast cancer. (It goes up if more family members are affected.)
· Women with one of these mutations are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, as well as to have cancer in both breasts. They also have a higher risk of developing some other cancers, mainly ovarian cancer.
· In the United States, BRCA mutations are more common in Jewish people of Ashkenazi (Eastern Europe) origin than in other racial and ethnic groups, but anyone can have them.
It’s true – the older you get, the risk of getting breast cancer increases. Most women who are diagnosed are age 55 and older.
Then, there are risk factors over which you do have control.
Being overweight causes a slightly elevated risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight. When it comes to your weight, it’s equally important to realize that your healthy weight is different from anyone else in the same age group or with the same body type.
Your food choices:
Diet is thought to be at least partly responsible for about 30-40% of all cancers. Now, mind you there’s no food or diet that can prevent you from getting breast cancer; but eating foods that are good for you can keep your body the healthiest possible, boost your immune system and help keep the risk as low as possible.
Exposure to certain chemicals:
Of course, you cannot change the environment in which you live, and certain environmental hazards are simply a part of life. Places you can make a change is in relationship to the chemicals in the foods you eat; cosmetics you use; sunscreen; and even the chemicals used to treat your lawn and garden.
Knowing the risks of breast cancer helps you to make more informed decisions about your health. At ThermApproach, we also believe that getting a yearly screening using a thermogram will also help you, along with your primary health care provider, make informed decisions, especially when it comes to your breast health.
At ThermAppoach, we utilize sophisticated infrared technology and innovative computer software to capture the images in the form of an infrared thermogram, or heat picture. All reports are interpreted by medical doctors that are Board Certified in Thermology.
Before you can feel it, thermal imaging can see it. Please call our office to schedule your screening today.
 “Breast Cancer Risk Factors You Cannot Change.” American Cancer Society, 6 Sept. 2017, www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/breast-cancer-risk-factors-you-cannot-change.html.
 “Breast Cancer Risk Factors.” Breastcancer.org, www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors.