If so, there is a chance that you have younger women in your family. Have you thought about how to approach the subject of breast cancer risk with them? Women are at a higher risk for breast cancer diagnosis at a young age if they have a close family member who was also diagnosed at an early age, or if they have changes to certain genes that can cause breast cancer.
If you have young women in your family, talk to your doctor and ask about genetic screening. You will be referred to someone who will check to see what your risk for developing breast cancer is based on your family history. They will also draw some blood to check the genes related to breast cancer. The most common are BRCA1 and BRCA2. If you test positive for a mutation of these genes, they can recommend earlier and more frequent screening, medicines or surgeries to lower your risk. You can even check your risk for a BRCA mutation by taking an online assessment at Know:BRCA. You can print these results and take them to your doctor to start the conversation. In addition, surviveAL has expert advice to answer your questions 24/7.
Maybe you don’t want to do a genetic screening. There are still ways to help reduce your risk of breast cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise at least 4 hours a week.
- Limit alcohol to no more than one per day.
- Don’t smoke
- Breastfeed (if possible).
- Talk to your doctor about risks associated with hormone replacement therapy or certain types of birth control pills.
Remember, you are not helpless. You have the tools to be well informed regarding breast cancer risk and its prevention. Talk to your doctor with any questions and visit the following links.