Having A Family History Of Breast Cancer
Its important to note that most women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease. But women who have close blood relatives with breast cancer have a higher risk:
- Having a first-degree relative with breast cancer almost doubles a womans risk. Having 2 first-degree relatives increases her risk by about 3-fold.
- Women with a father or brother who has had breast cancer also have a higher risk of breast cancer.
Cancers Linked To Radiation Treatment
Lung cancer: The risk of lung cancer is higher in women who had radiation therapy after a mastectomy as part of their treatment. The risk is even higher in women who smoke. The risk does not seem to be increased in women who have radiation therapy to the breast after a lumpectomy.
Sarcoma: Radiation therapy to the breast also increases the risk of sarcomas of blood vessels , bone , and other connective tissues in areas that were treated. Overall, this risk is low.
Certain blood cancers: Breast radiation is linked to a higher risk of leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome . Overall, though, this risk is low.
Inherited Breast Cancer And Risk Reduction
Family history is a known risk factor for breast cancer, with elevated risk due to both increasing number and decreasing age of first-degree relatives affected. For example, in a large, population-based study, risk of breast cancer was increased 2.9-fold among women whose relative was diagnosed prior to age 30, but the increase was only 1.5-fold if the affected relative was diagnosed after age 60 years. While twin studies indicate familial aggregation among women diagnosed with breast cancer, identification of true germline mutations, including BRCA1, BRCA2, p53 , PTEN , and STK11 , are quite rare, on the order of 5%-6%.- However, the management of young women at an increased risk of developing breast cancer via a germline mutation requires careful consideration, as screening, risk reduction, and implications for relatives are of upmost importance.
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Testicular Cancer Is More Commonly Diagnosed In Young Adults With The Average Age Of Diagnosis Being 33
The average age of someone being diagnosed with testicular cancer is 33, according to the American Cancer Society. It’s a very rare type of cancer, accounting for just 1% of all cancers that occur in people with testicles, according to the National Health Service.
Although it’s an uncommon cancer overall, it’s the most common type of cancer to affect men between the ages of 15 and 49.
Testicular cancer can affect one or both testicles and it commonly presents itself as a hard or painful lump that can be felt in the scrotum. Fortunately, Cancer Council reports the five-year survival rate for testicular cancer can be as high as 99%, depending on the time of diagnosis and whether or not it has spread.
How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed
During your regular physical examination, your doctor will take a thorough personal and family medical history. He or she will also perform and/or order one or more of the following:
- Breast examination: During the breast exam, the doctor will carefully feel the lump and the tissue around it. Breast cancer usually feels different than benign lumps.
- Digital mammography: An X-ray test of the breast can give important information about a breast lump. This is an X-ray image of the breast and is digitally recorded into a computer rather than on a film. This is generally the standard of care .
- Ultrasonography: This test uses sound waves to detect the character of a breast lump whether it is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid mass . This may be performed along with the mammogram.
Based on the results of these tests, your doctor may or may not request a biopsy to get a sample of the breast mass cells or tissue. Biopsies are performed using surgery or needles.
After the sample is removed, it is sent to a lab for testing. A pathologist a doctor who specializes in diagnosing abnormal tissue changes views the sample under a microscope and looks for abnormal cell shapes or growth patterns. When cancer is present, the pathologist can tell what kind of cancer it is and whether it has spread beyond the ducts or lobules .
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Risk Factors For Cancers
Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and air pollution are risk factors for cancer .
Some chronic infections are risk factors for cancer this is a particular issue in low- and middle-income countries. Approximately 13% of cancers diagnosed in 2018 globally were attributed to carcinogenic infections, including Helicobacter pylori, human papillomavirus , hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and Epstein-Barr virus .
Hepatitis B and C viruses and some types of HPV increase the risk for liver and cervical cancer, respectively. Infection with HIV substantially increases the risk of cancers such as cervical cancer.
Trends In Breast Cancer Deaths
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is about 1 in 39 .
Since 2007, breast cancer death rates have been steady in women younger than 50, but have continued to decrease in older women. From 2013 to 2018, the death rate went down by 1% per year.
These decreases are believed to be the result of finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatments.
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Women Who Get Their Period Earlier
According to the CDC, women who start their menstrual cycle before the age of 12 are more likely to get breast cancer, as they are exposed to hormones longer. This can be a bit alarming, considering that boys and girls are going through puberty earlier than ever before. Scientists have attributed this to everything from diet and the obesity epidemic to exposure to chemicals.
Risk Factors You Can Change
- Not being physically active. Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
- Being overweight or obese after menopause. Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than those at a normal weight.
- Taking hormones. Some forms of hormone replacement therapy taken during menopause can raise risk for breast cancer when taken for more than five years. Certain oral contraceptives also have been found to raise breast cancer risk.
- Reproductive history. Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.
- Drinking alcohol. Studies show that a womans risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.
Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer, and changes in other hormones due to night shift working also may increase breast cancer risk.
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How Race Affects Your Breast Cancer Risk
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women. But that’s notthe whole story. Find out how race plays a role in your breast cancerrisk and what steps you can take to reduce your chances of developingthe disease.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. But did you know that your race plays a role in how likely you are to get breast cancer, what type of breast cancer you get, and how likely you are to die from it?
About 1 in 8 women in the United States will get breast cancer in their lifetime. If you look at the rates at which women get breast cancer by race, white women and black women have about the same rate at around 12%. Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic women have about the same rate as each other at about 9%. American-Indian women are at the least risk at about 7%.
“We know that the incidence of breast cancer overall is about the same in white women and black women,” says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center.“However, black women, especially younger women, are more likely to get some of the more serious breast cancers, get them at an earlier age and die more often from the disease.”
Black women are twice as likely to get triple-negative breast cancer, which is an aggressive form of the disease. Triple-negative breast cancers spread more rapidly and are harder to treat than other types of breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer is also more likely to come back after treatment.
Ovarian Cancer Is Usually Diagnosed In Post
The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases with age, according to the American Cancer Society. Ovarian canceris rare in people under 40 and it usually develops after the onset of menopause. Half of all people with ovarian cancer are diagnosed after the age of 63.
Some of therisk factors for ovarian cancer include using fertility treatments, being overweight, smoking, and having had breast cancer.
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How Likely Are You To Get Breast Cancer
Oct. 18, 2001 — Breast-cancer awareness seems to be at an all-time high, and more women than ever are having mammograms to screen for the disease. But how much do women really know about their risk of breast cancer and the benefits of screening? Not as much as they think they do, new research suggests.
A nationwide survey conducted by the American Cancer Society found that women routinely overestimated their lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. The average woman has about an 11% lifetime risk of getting the disease, but nearly half of those surveyed believed their risk was between 30% and 50%. Many also wrongly believed women in their 30s and 40s are more likely to be diagnosed than older women.
A separate study from Switzerland found that women also overestimated the effectiveness of mammograms. More than half of those surveyed said they believed screening reduces the risk of breast cancer death by between half and 75%, far higher than most studies suggest.
“It seems clear that the widespread use of a marketing approach to telling women about mammography screening has led to an exaggerated idea of the method’s effectiveness,” study author Eric Chamot, MD, PhD, of the University of Geneva, tells WebMD. “I am very much in favor of screening. But almost nobody tells women that mammography screening is not 100% effective. Women are not getting that message.”
Family History And Breast Cancer Risk
Most women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of it. Or if you have only one female relative diagnosed with breast cancer over the age of 40, your risk is unlikely to be very different from other women the same age as you.
But sometimes breast cancer can run in families. The chance of there being a family link is bigger when:
- a number of family members have been diagnosed with breast cancer or related cancers, such as ovarian cancer
- the family members are closely related
- the family members were diagnosed at a younger age
- a man in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Fewer than 1 in 10 breast cancers are thought to be caused by a change in a gene running through the family. In hereditary breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the two genes most often found to have a change.
Women with triple negative breast cancer are sometimes offered genetic testing. This is offered even if they do not have a family history of breast cancer. Most breast cancers caused by a change in the BRCA1 gene are triple negative. Your doctor or breast care nurse can explain more about this to you.
If you are worried about breast cancer in your family, talk to your GP or breast specialist. They can refer you to a family history clinic or a genetics clinic.
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What Causes Breast Cancer
Many different things can affect your chances of getting breast cancer.
Theres no single cause. It results from a combination of the way we live our lives, our genes and our environment.
We cant predict who will get breast cancer. And we cant confidently say what might have caused someones breast cancer.
There are, however, some things you can do to lower your chances of getting it.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Everyone wants to know what they can do to lower their risk of breast cancer. Some of the factors associated with breast cancer being a woman, your age, and your genetics, for example can’t be changed. Other factors being overweight, lack of exercise, smoking cigarettes, and eating unhealthy food can be changed by making choices. By choosing the healthiest lifestyle options possible, you can empower yourself and make sure your breast cancer risk is as low as possible.
The known risk factors for breast cancer are listed below. Click on each link to learn more about the risk factor and ways you can minimize it in your own life. If a factor can’t be changed , you can learn about protective steps you can take that can help keep your risk as low as possible.
Just being a woman is the biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer. There are about 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 63,960 cases of non-invasive breast cancer this year in American women.
As with many other diseases, your risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older. About two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older.
Women with close relatives who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease. If you’ve had one first-degree female relative diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk is doubled.
About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by abnormal genes passed from parent to child.
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Can I Lower My Risk Of Getting A Second Cancer
There’s no sure way to prevent all cancers, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk and stay as healthy as possible. Getting the recommended early detection tests, as mentioned above, is one way to do this.
Its also important to stay away from tobacco products. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers, including some of the second cancers seen after breast cancer.
To help maintain good health, breast cancer survivors should also:
What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Being a woman and getting older are the main risk factors for breast cancer.
Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.
Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.
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What Types Of Tests Are Available To Provide Insight About A Breast Cancer Treatment Plan
If you have breast cancer, you should definitely ask your doctor for a thorough rundown on your treatment options, Dr. Kaklamani says, starting with the types of tests available to help craft your individual treatment plan.
Genomic testslike the Oncotype DX® testlook at the specific genes in a tumor to see whether they are over- or under-active. For people diagnosed with early-stage invasive breast cancer , the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score® result tells patients and their doctors not only how aggressive their cancer is and the risk of it returning, but more importantly, whether chemotherapy might be a beneficial treatment option or if it can be safely omitted, Dr. Kaklamani says.
“The good thing about the is that it’s specific to the woman that we are testing,” she says. “All of these clinical trials that we’ve done have included thousands and thousands of women, none of those women are present in my office when I talk to that specific person about their breast cancer. represents that woman’s breast cancer.”
Personalized is obviously better when it comes to something as delicate as cancer treatment , so asking your doctor about genomic testing can help ensure you’re getting a treatment plan that’s properly tailored to your needs.
People With Genetic Mutations
According to the Mayo Clinic, five to ten percent of breast cancers are linked to genetic mutationsBRCA1 and BRCA2passed multi-generationally through families. For example, as we’ve said, these genetic mutations are more common amongst women with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Therefore, this group of women is often tested for the mutation, especially when there is a family history of breast cancer. However, according to a recent study conducted by the genetic testing company 23andMe, researchers found that while 62% carrying a BRCA variant did have Ashkenazi Jewish genetic ancestry, 21% of individuals reported no Jewish ancestry. In the same study, researchers found that 44% of individuals carrying an Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA variant had no family history BRCA-related cancer. Because of this, they likely wouldn’t be able to quality for clinical genetic testing.
Basically, anyone can be a carrier of one of these genetic mutations and not even know it. If you have a family history of breast cancer or genetic mutations, you should definitely have genetic testing doneAngelina Jolie did, for example, and has a double mastectomy after testing positive for BRCA1. Even if you don’t, it’s not a bad idea to get tested. You can even do it through 23andMe, who tests for three of the most common genetic variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes associated with higher risk for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
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