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OctOber is Breast Cancer AwAreness Month N The Risk Factors for Breast Cancer o two women are the same. But when it comes to breast cancer, women from all walks of life share various risk factors for a disease that the World Health Organization indicates is the most frequent cancer among women. Risk factors are anything that affects the likelihood that individuals will get a certain disease. In regard to breast cancer, the American Breast Cancer Foundation notes that various factors, some that result from lifestyle choices and others that are not changeable, can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Recognizing these risk factors can help women make any necessary changes and even highlight the importance of routine cancer screenings that can detect the presence of the disease in its earliest, most treatable stages. Lifestyle-related risk factors: The ABCF notes that certain habits or behaviors can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. But the good news is that women who understand the link between certain habits or behaviors and breast cancer can avoid those behaviors to decrease their risk of developing the disease. According to Breastcancer.org, the following are some habits, behaviors or lifestyle choices that can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. • Alcohol consumption: Breastcancer.org notes that researchers have uncovered links between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and hormonereceptor-positive breast cancer. One study found that women who consume three alcoholic beverages per week have a 15 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t drink at all. And while research into the connection is limited, a 2009 study found a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer recurrence. • Sedentary lifestyle: Exercise consumes and controls blood sugar and limits blood levels of insulin growth factor. That’s an important connection, as insulin growth factor can affect how breast cells grow and behave. A sedentary lifestyle also can increase a woman’s risk of being obese, which the ABCF notes is a risk factor for breast cancer among postmenopausal women. • Smoking: Smoking has long been linked to cancer, and Breastcancer.org notes that smoking has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women. Unchangeable risk factors: Unfortunately, many risk factors for breast cancer are beyond women’s control. For example, the ABCF notes that roughly two out of three invasive breast cancers occur in women age 55 and older. Women cannot change their ages, but recognizing the link between age and breast cancer risk is important, as such a recognition may compel more women 55 and older to prioritize cancer screening. Gender and family history are two additional unchangeable risk factors for breast cancer. Women are much more likely to get breast cancer than men. In addition, Breastcancer.org notes that between 5 and 10 percent of breast cancers are believed to be caused by abnormal genes that are passed from parent to child. Women are not helpless in the fight against breast cancer. Knowledge of breast cancer, including its various risk factors, is a great weapon against it as women look to reduce their risk of developing the disease. Is 3D Mammography Right For You? M ammograms take images of breast tissue to determine the presence of abnormalities, including lumps. Women may undergo traditional, 2D mammograms, but increasingly many healthcare facilities are now employing 3D technology because it can provide clearer pictures. A 3D mammogram, also called digital tomosynthesis, takes several different X-rays of the breasts and combines those images to establish a three-dimensional picture. The Mayo Clinic says that a 3D mammogram is typically used to search for breast cancer in people who may have no outward signs or symptoms. It also may be used to help diagnose the cause of a breast mass or nipple discharge. Doctors may suggest 3D imaging to get a better look at any growths or help identify the source of any symptoms a person may be concerned about. Two-dimensional mammograms are still the industry standard. The 3D versions are obtained in a similar fashion by pressing the breasts between two imaging plates. Rather than just taking images from the sides and top to bottom, the 3D version will take multiple angles to make a digital recreation of the breast. Medical News Today says this enables doctors to look at small, individual sections of the breast tissue that may be as thin as just a single millimeter. A study published in the journal JAMA Oncology says cancer detection rates are higher in people who do 3D imaging over time. Three-dimensional mammograms can be useful for women with dense breast tissue or those at higher risk for breast cancer. Although experts at MD Anderson Cancer Center advise any woman who needs a mammogram to get the 3D version. However, 3D mammography may not be covered by all insurance plans. It’s important to note that a 3D mammogram releases the same amount of radiation as a traditional mammogram. It is of no greater risk to the patient, and it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Also of note, because 3D mammograms produce more images, it may take a radiologist a little longer to read one than it would a 2D mammogram. Three-dimensional mammograms are an option for women screening for breast cancer. Did You Know? Women diagnosed with breast cancer who want to speak with someone who has survived the disease can do so thanks to a unique program sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The Reach to Recovery program from the ACS connects current cancer patients with breast cancer survivors via an online chat. Patients, regardless of where they are in their cancer journeys, can connect with volunteers for one-on-one support. Volunteers can help patients cope with treatment and side effects while also offering advice on speaking with friends and family, working while receiving treatment and more. More information about the Reach to Recovery program, including how to join as a patient or volunteer, is available at www.reach.cancer.org. Electric Services for Commercial & Industrial Needs 5675 McPherson Avenue Wiper Blades on sale! Check us out! 2700 W. Broadway • 325-1440 D’Angelo TAx & AccounTing Service 712-322-4590 3D Mammography with Sensory Suite Technology More detailed imagery • Soothing videos • Relaxing ambient sounds Schedule your mammogram 712-396-7600 ©2020 Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital, an affiliate of Methodist Health System 100 Linden Street Oakland Ph: 482-6454 • Fax 482-3418 Designed for a better ma mammogram experience

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