Breast cancer prevention tips

About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime1. As you talk to your doctor about your specific health needs, consider discussing your risk and work together to develop a prevention plan. No matter your medical history, there are certainly steps you can take for breast cancer prevention. 

 

First and foremost, it’s important to know more about breast cancer.

Know the Risks of Breast Cancer2

From genetics to lifestyle, it’s important to be aware of the most common factors that lead to breast cancer. You may be at a higher risk if:

 

  • You are a woman age 50+ 
  • Your family has a history of breast cancer 
  • You have previously had breast cancer or certain benign breast conditions 
  • You have dense breast tissue 
  • You have had no children or had your first child after age 30 
  • You had your first menstrual period before age 12 and/or went through menopause after age 55 
  • You smoke and/or consume alcohol regularly 
  • You are not physically active

How to Prevent Breast Cancer: Early Detection Matters

Get regular screenings—that’s the best way of detecting breast cancer early. If something doesn’t seem right, call your doctor. The American Cancer Society recommends the following:3

 

  • Women between ages 40 and 44 should begin yearly mammogram screenings 
  • Women ages 45 to 54 should have yearly mammogram screenings 
  • Women who are at high risk for breast cancer should get an MRI and a mammogram every year, typically starting at age 30
 

Talk to your doctor about preventive care services that are available to you. If you don’t know where to turn, come see if CenterWell Senior Primary Care is right for you.

How to Avoid Breast Cancer and Lower Your Risks

If you are age 55 and older, have a family history of breast cancer or have dense breast tissue, you may be more likely to develop the disease. Some choices may help you lower your breast cancer risk:3

 

  • Avoid or limit alcohol consumption 
  • Stay physically active and maintain a healthy weight 
  • Do not smoke

Know the Facts (and Myths) About Breast Cancer 1,5

  • Myth — Small-breasted women have less chance of getting breast cancer
    • There is no connection between breast size and your risk of breast cancer 
  • Myth — Most breast lumps are cancerous
    • Roughly 80% of lumps in women’s breasts are benign (noncancerous) 
  • Myth — Young women don’t get breast cancer 
    • Women can get breast cancer as early as their 20s

The American Cancer Society Recommendations3:

These guidelines are for women at average risk for breast cancer. For screening purposes, a woman is considered to be at average risk if she doesn’t have a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, or a genetic mutation known to increase risk of breast cancer (such as in a BRCA gene), and has not had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30.

 

  • Women age 45-50 have a mammogram every year.
  • Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or continue yearly mammograms. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • Women with higher risk should get a breast MRI and mammogram every year.

A Growing Army of Breast Cancer Survivors

Thanks to a tremendous increase in awareness and a commitment to early detection, the numbers are improving. Right now, there are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors6 in the U.S., and our goal is to continue advancing that number.

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Formerly known as Partners in Primary Care and Family Physicians Group, our new name CenterWell reflects our passion for improving the lives of seniors.  Our team is here and ready to help answer any questions you may have.