Breast cancer infographicBreast cancer facts:

  • About one in eight women in the Africa will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, behind skin cancer.
  • Two of three breast cancers are found in women 55 or older.
  • Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.
  • Breast cancer survivorship has tripled over the past 60 years.

Risk factors for breast cancer:

  • Gender: A woman is 200 times more likely than a man to develop breast cancer.
  • Age: Risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older, and half of all breast cancers are diagnosed in women older than 60.
  • Genetics: About 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, meaning that they result directly from gene defects inherited from a parent.
  • Family history: Risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives have this disease. Less than 15 percent of women with breast cancer have a family member with the disease.
  • Weight: Being overweight or obese increases breast cancer risk.
  • Race: Overall, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women, but African-American women are more likely to die of this cancer.

Health tips:

  • Breast density: Having dense breasts makes your chance of developing breast cancer four times higher.
  • Know your family history
  • Nutrition: Eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily, limiting processed and red meats. Choose whole grains.
  • Screening: Remember to get annual mammograms and clinical breast exams beginning at 40.
  • Watch weight: Women who gained 21 to 30 pounds since age 18 were 40 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than those who hadn’t gained more than five pounds.
  • Physical activity: Women who walk briskly for 1.25 to 2.5 hours a week had 18 percent lower risk than women who are inactive.
  • Alcohol: Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink a day. Any more than that increases risk by 1.5 times compared to someone who doesn’t drink.

Symptoms:

  • Swelling in all or part of the breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness or thickening of nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge