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Jul 29

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

breast cancer awarenessBreast cancer and its treatment are an important health issue. Worldwide, breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies; about 12% of all women will develop cancer of the breast sometime in their lives. In 2016, 245,299 new cases of breast cancer were detected and the number has been increasing since the early 2000’s.

In a way, this is good news, because it may indicate that early detection efforts are paying off and more cases are being found early. There are several risk factors for breast cancer that we cannot control. These include:

  • Age – Most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.
  • Reproductive history – The longer a woman is exposed to certain hormones, the greater the risk of developing breast cancer. Starting menstruation at an early age or having a later-than-normal menopause increases risk.
  • Breast density – Dense breasts have more connective tissue. This makes it more difficult to see a tumor via mammogram. Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.
  • Genetic factors – Inherited mutations to certain genes give women who have them a higher risk of breast cancer.
  • Family history – If a first-degree relative (mother, sister or daughter) has a history of breast cancer, the woman is at increased risk.
  • Personal history – Women who have had breast cancer are more likely to get it a second time. Some non-cancerous breast conditions are also associated with a higher risk of getting breast cancer.

When detected early, lumpectomy (surgery to remove a portion of the breast tissue) is often the treatment. In the past, this has frequently been followed by a course of radiation that required the patient to return daily for three to six-weeks. Today, using IORT (interoperative radiation therapy), the radiation is delivered during the surgery itself, directly into the area where the tumor has been removed. Most patients will not require added radiation therapy. IORT offers several advantages over past options. You can learn all the details at “IORT, A New Option in Breast Cancer Treatment.”

If you have any question about the areas included in general surgery, especially IORT, please contact our office. Contact Dr Birkedal or phone us at 386-210-9794. Our offices, located in Daytona, New Smyrna and Palm Coast are all part of the AdventHealth Medical Group.

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