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Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

If you've skipped a mammogram because you have no family risk of breast cancer, you may want to schedule one soon.

Eighty percent of women with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. //The October issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource offers insights on the risks of breast cancer and ways to reduce risk.


The lifetime risk of an American woman developing invasive breast cancer is one in eight. That means that one in eight women who live to age 89 will have breast cancer during her life.

Age is the most significant risk factor. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop breast cancer. If you’re in your 40s, your risk is one in 50, or 2 percent. In your 50s, your risk is one in 24, or about 4 percent.

You can reduce your risk of breast cancer by making changes in your lifestyle. Maintain a healthy body weight, have no more than one alcoholic drink each day and aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.

Taking medication or having surgery to remove breast tissue are prevention options for women at high risk.

Early detection saves lives. Women should begin yearly mammograms at age 40. Become familiar with your breast tissue and have any new changes promptly evaluated.


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