4 Surprising Facts All Women Should Know About Breast Cancer

Healthy Living 56

pink ribbon quilt breast cancer awarenessEvery October, or Breast Cancer Awareness Month as it's known, the little pink ribbons come out in droves. We get inundated with info about BSEs (breast self-exams), annual mammos, and all the latest technology out there for breast cancer prevention. And it's amazing, but sometimes the little-known but surprising facts about breast cancer aren't the ones most publicized. Yet, they might be extremely helpful.

Here, four stunning facts about breast cancer women of all ages should know ...

  1. Dense breasts up breast cancer risk. No need to panic, but having dense breasts increases -- as much as four- or five-fold -- a woman’s chances of de­veloping breast cancer, say experts. Our breasts tend to get less glandular as we grow older, but a significant percentage of postmenopausal women still has dense breasts. Therefore, it's pretty much imperative that you discuss your breast density with your doc. He or she can help recommend screenings that, in addition to your mammogram, may be more beneficial to you, such as ultrasound.
  2. Hormone therapy isn't doing you any favors, either. As use of synthetic HRT (like Premarin) has dropped, breast cancer rates have, as well. One study from the Journal of the American Medical Association even found that women on combined hormone therapy -- that's estrogen plus progestin (lab-made progesterone), which describes a menopausal drug called Prempro and most birth control pills -- were twice as likely to die from breast cancer compared to women receiving a placebo. And other research shows women with a strong family history of breast cancer may have up to an 11 times higher risk of breast cancer if they have ever taken the pill.
  3. Family history may not matter. Although we tend to worry about family history of the disease, most cases of diagnosed breast cancer -- approximately 75 percent -- are actually not hereditary and occur in women with no family history of the disease! Of course, if you do have a family history, you should speak with your doctor about taking the proper precautions (in the case of having a first-degree relative who had breast cancer, you should start receiving yearly mammograms 10 years earlier than the age they were diagnosed). Approximately 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases are hereditary and result from genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2.
  4. Breast cancer screening really is super important. But that's not the surprising part. This is: About 30 out of 1,000 40-year-olds will die from breast cancer in the absence of screening. Hence why that U.S. Task Force recommendation from 2009 stating that women should wait until they're 50 to have annual mammos was a bunch of bunk! Thank goodness 8 in 10 women realize the guideline is unsafe.

Do these facts surprise you? What's another one you think most women should know?


Image via Jason Meredith/Flickr

breasts, cancer


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LoriA... LoriAnn87

No I'm not suprise at all because I already knew about this facts since my mom passed away from breast cancer. She was the first one in her family to get breast cancer. In 2 years I will be getting my first mammogram done.

Kirsten Anthony

There are other health issues that can put you at higher risk for Breast Cancer. Though not scientifically proven to my knowledge, I strongly believe the disease known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome plays a HUGE role in Breast Cancer, only because it is a major hormone/endocrine imbalance. The facts you listed here I was aware of because my Mom died of metastacised breast cancer 13 years ago, and her mother has had lumps removed. Most of my mother's female first cousins have had breast cancer or a gynecological cancer. My sister just got through treatments for Cervical Cancer. Hence I am VERY familiar with most of the "Female" cancers.

Robyn Roche-Paull

That BREASTFEEDING reduces your risk of getting breast cancer by up to 59% and that if you breastfeed your baby girl, you also reduce her risk of breast cancer. The prevention for breast cancer is right under our noses, sitting on our chests! Why aren't we using our breasts for their intended purpose, and preventing breast cancer at the same time?

Keely Johnson

Did you know that wearing a tight underwire bra has also been seen to contribute to cancer? It restricts bloodflow.


Diet is important in prevention of cancers as well. Eating lots of processed foods, though convenient, is not beneficial to our health.

sunny... sunnybunny5us

Breastfeeding and not wearing push up bras are two good ways to actually prevent it but you never hear any of those organizations talking about it at all.They all talk about early detection. Early detection is NOT prevention.

Jennifer Kupper Swan

They don't want to stop you from getting cancer, they want to profit from your cancer.  Shock of shocks the medical community is out to kill us.

Vivian Taube

Why does every post have only to do with getting mammos, when thermography is more accurate and safer? Plus, easier and painless? I don't understand. I have been getting them for years.

Kritika Kritika

When is cervical cancer going to get a spotlight in mass media?

Dawn Lutz Linke

Breast Cancer Awaness is inportant but did you also Know that October is Domestic Violence Awarness month?  Domestic Violence is more common than Cancer will ever be but the problem is ignored as a taboo of society.  Save the Ta-ta's but don't forget to also save the woman who is attached to them.


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