No woman wants to receive the diagnosis, but hearing the words "breast cancer" doesn't always mean an end. It can be the beginning of learning how to fight, getting the facts and finding hope.In 2010, there were more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. In reality, about one in eight women in the United States can expect to develop breast cancer over the course of an entire lifetime. Men can get breast cancer, too, but it’s rare—less than 1% of all cases.
The following factors can increase your risk for developing breast cancer:
- Family history of breast cancer
- Genes: There are two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that greatly increase the risk
- Beginning periods before age 12
- Going through menopause after age 55
- Being overweight
- Using some medications, like hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills
- Drinking alcohol
- Not having children or having your first child after age 35
- Having dense breasts
One of the biggest misconceptions about breast cancer is that if someone has no risk factors—like a family history of the condition—they won’t be affected. The truth is that one-third of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors. That’s why it’s important for women to have regular screening. The following tests are used to look for, assess and monitor breast cancer.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump or lumps in the breast. Performing regular breast self-exams and getting mammograms can help detect breast cancer early. Breast cancer treatments include radiation, lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy.