Do you wonder if you’re at higher risk of developing breast cancer than your sister, friend or cousin? If you’re like most women, you have friends and/or family who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and you may be wondering, “Why them? What about me? Am I at high risk?
Breast Cancer is still the most common type of cancer in women. Each year approximately 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Early and better detection and research that’s led to advanced treatments are all improving the outlook for women diagnosed with breast cancer, and yet many of us wonder if we’re at high risk. There are lists of risk factors, but making sense of what to do with the information is daunting.
What’s my Risk?
When you look at the list, it’s hard to tease out the kind of information that you can apply to your own life. For example, if you’re 50, you have between a 2 -3% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the next 10 years. That means that in a group of 100 women who are 50, 2-3 will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next 10 years. Breast cancer rates increase with age, so those same 50 year olds, have a 8-9% risk of developing breast cancer in the next 30 years.
What about Family History?
What about women with a family history? Or those who haven’t had children? What’s their risk?
Here’s a free on-line individualized Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool that’s available to women no matter where you live.
Risk Assessment and What to do Next
I filled it out in a few minutes and found that the information was easy to understand and gave me an idea of the kinds of things I could do to reduce my risk, things like keeping my weight down, exercising and avoiding alcohol.
I’m also excited about a new development at the Breast Care Center at El Camino Hospital they are going to be offering each woman who comes in for a mammogram an extensive and detailed breast cancer risk assessment using an iPad or other interactive device. The results will be combined with the mammogram results and be reviewed with her by nurse coordinators. In this way, women can get personalized and customized advice based on their own unique family and personal history.
Oh, and don’t forget: Make your Pinky Promise to have your Mammogram this year.
Disclosure: I work on the campus of El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. I’ve been having my own mammograms at their Breast Care Center for years and it’s where I send my patients. I’m excited to be working with El Camino Hospital to share with you some of the inspiring programs they provide as part of their commitment To Do Whatever It Takes for patients.