The Women's Health Resource Center
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women and the second leading cause of death from cancer, after lung cancer. Each month, a woman's breasts go through temporary changes associated with menstruation, and a lump may form. While 90 percent of these are not cancerous, any lump should be examined immediately. Age is the greatest risk factor for breast cancer. As you age, your risk of developing breast cancer rises. Over age 65, you are twice as likely to develop breast cancer than a woman between ages 40 and 64. The likelihood of developing breast cancer under age 40 is low.
Different types of breast cancer grow and spread at different rates. Fortunately, breast cancer is most successfully treated if detected early. Localized tumors can be treated successfully before the cancer spreads, nine cases out of 10 have a five-year survival rate. Improved screening procedures and treatment options mean that most women with breast cancer will survive more than 5 years after initial diagnosis, and half will survive more than 10 years.
A strong family history of breast cancer may indicate a genetic breast cancer link. However, this accounts for only 6% of all breast cancer cases found in the United States. Many women are concerned that there may be a link between estrogen replacement therapy and breast cancer. Research on this relationship has produced conflicting data.
For more information Breast Cancer Recovery Program at (415) 750-6420, the Women's Health Resource Center at (415) 600-0500 or the Community Health Resource Center at (415) 923-3155 for more information. The Institute for Health and Healing at (415) 600-3660 provides information on alternative choices in hormone replacement therapy and cancer support groups.
What you can do…
- Eat food proven to lower your risk of cancer. Less than 20% of your total calories should come from fat. Increase servings of whole fruits and vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds and soy.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Exercise at least three times a week.
- Practice the three modalities for early detection:
- Monthly breast self-examination
- Annual examination by a health care professional
- Annual routine mammograms