Breast Cancer Risks and Symptoms

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S. Some are at higher risk than others because of personal or family history and/or gene mutations.

Getting mammograms regularly can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that average-risk women who are 50 to 74 years old should have a screening mammogram every two years.

Breast Cancer Risks
Getting older — most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50
Genetic mutations — such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
Early menstrual period – starting before age 12
Late or no pregnancy – first pregnancy after age 30
Starting menopause after age 55
Not being physically active
Being overweight or obese after menopause
Having dense breasts
Using combination hormone therapy –estrogen and progestin
Taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
Personal or family history of breast cancer
Personal history of certain non-cancerous breast diseases
Previous treatment using radiation therapy
Women who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES)
Drinking alcohol — risk increases the larger the amount consumed

Research suggests that other factors such as smoking, being exposed to
chemicals that can cause cancer, and night shift working also may increase
breast cancer risk.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer
New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
Pain in breast

For more information, visit: cdc.gov/cancer/breast

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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