Breast cancer risk factors

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October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and one thing every woman wants to know is how to decrease their risk.

Some risk factors can be controlled, but others cannot.

Assessing your family history may help determine your risk. About 5 to 10% of breast cancers are hereditary. Carrying the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene also puts you at higher risk.

As with many diseases, your risk for breast cancer goes up as you get older. Other factors include being overweight, lack of exercise, smoking cigarettes, and eating unhealthy food.

The American Cancer Society recommends getting a baseline mammogram starting at age 35, then a yearly mammogram beginning at age 40.

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