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February 20, 2013
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer which annually takes lives of millions of women around the world. It is estimated that in modern United States, breast cancer is the second type after skin cancer diagnosed in all cancer patients in the country. Despite a common myth, this type of cancer can occur not only in women, but in men as well. Fortunately, there are quite effective technologies to detect and diagnose breast cancer on its early stages. A great number of women (and some men too) are trying to do everything possible to protect themselves from this type of cancer by learning more about breast cancer risk factors and trying to eliminate their effects. The key risk factors for breast cancer include the following ones:
- Being a female.
- Being older than 55 years old.
- Belonging too the white race.
- Having certain breast health conditions.
- Going through some hormone therapy (including post menopausal hormone therapy).
- Going through chemotherapy or radiation treatment related to any serious health condition.
- Starting the period before the age of 12.
- Giving the first birth after the age of 35.
- Starting menopause after the age of 55.
- Being obese or overweight.
- Suffering from alcohol and other substance abuse.
- A lack of physical activities.
Certainly, the mentioned breast cancer risk factors can not tell us everything, and having one, two or even three risk factors does not mean that the patient is going to have breast cancer (especially taking into account the fact that such issues as race, gender, or age can not be changed). Also, some factors play more important role, and some play less important role. There are other risk factors for breast cancer which are considered controversial and are usually not included in the list. Those include using certain medications (namely antidepressants, birth control pills, and others), having breast implants, using too tight bras, being exposed to tobacco smoke, suffering from sleep disorders, working at night, and so on. At the same time, according to the findings of a recent study, one more of breast cancer risk factors – family history of the disease – should now be considered controversial and not be included to the common risk factor list.
As the experts who were involved in annual Australian state program BreastScreen Victoria surveys found out, family history of breast cancer, other serious breast diseases, and other related health problems actually do not matter much as a possible breast cancer risk factor. During the research, the scientists analyzed over 20,000 mammograms taken for the period of the last 20 years. As the analysis has shown, over 72 per cent of women who developed various types of breast cancer for the mentioned period of time, had no family history of the disease, thus they became the first to be diagnosed with this serious health condition. This is considered quite a high percentage of the effects for a factor to be considered one of the risk factors for breast cancer, Australian scientists are convinced.
In addition, the researchers underline that the findings of their study should make all women increase their breast cancer awareness and undertake all serious measures in order to prevent this serious health condition. In particular, it is strongly recommended to get regular mammograms and be aware about current risk factors for breast cancer. “This is important because most women are listening to the information around family history and going, ‘it’s not in my family, therefore, I don’t need to worry‘”, Chief Executive Vicki Pridmore, CEO at BreastScreen Victoria and one of the lead specialist of the study, commented. It is a known fact that on the earliest stages of the disease there are no symptoms or signs, and most of women do not feel and pain or other warning symptom. That is why the only way to detect this health condition on early stages is to monitor our breast condition on a regular basis. Leading a healthy lifestyle free from bad habits like smoking and alcohol abuse are considered other effective ways to reduce the risk for breast cancer.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.