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The chances that you will get breast cancer has a lot to do with your genetic disposition (you’re more likely to get breast cancer if your grandmother or another relative was diagnosed with it), but it also has to do with your environment. The incidence of breast cancer varies greatly around the world, lessening in less developed countries and increasing in more developed countries. In South Carolina, your chances are 124.1 in 100,000 if you are Caucasian, and 109.7 if you are African American, according to a 2004 report by the American Cancer Society. Chances go up with age, with 77% of breast cancer incidences occurring in women over the age of 50. Leading risks for breast cancer include a family history, atypical hyperplasia, delaying pregnancy until after age 30 or never becoming pregnant, early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after age 55), current use or use in the last ten years of oral contraceptives, and daily consumption of alcohol.

Early detection is important! Early detection of breast cancer, through your monthly self examination and your yearly mammogram after the age of 40 are your best chances for surviving breast cancer if you are diagnosed. About 96% of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer free in five years. You are never too young to start checking for breast cancer. Although over 80% of breast lumps are not cancerous, regular self-examinations starting at the age of 20 will help you become familiar with your breasts and help you in detecting early-forming lumps.

Carolina Girls Know About Breast Cancer Prevention There are plenty of ways to help prevent your risks for breast cancer, and most of those are things you should already be doing, like exercising, eating healthy food and not drinking in excess. If you at risk for breast cancer because of family history or you are over the age of 50, here are a few suggestions to help keep you fit and cancer free: 1) Maintain a BMI (Body Mass Index) below 25 throughout your life. Overweight individuals are at a much higher risk for breast cancer than average or underweight individuals. 2) Minimize your consumption of alcohol. A recent Harvard Nurses Health Study reported that more than one alcoholic beverage a day increases your chances for breast cancer by 20 – 25%. 3) Eat your fruits and veggies! 4) Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes five times a week. This could be a nice, brisk walk with the dog or a jaunt up to the corner store. If the president of the United States can find 30 minutes a day to exercise, so can you. 5) Minimize your exposure to pharmacological and xeno-estrogrens. Estrogen can be found in more than just your birth control pills: poultry, red meat and dairy products are all quite likely to have estrogen in them unless they’re labeled organic. Be sure to thoroughly wash all of your fruits and veggies before eating them, since common pesticides and industrial chemicals are likely to contain chemically-created estrogen. www.CarolinaGirl.sc Online Magazine | 2009 43

Carolina Girl Nov/Dec 2009 - Charleston Issue  

To read the current edition of the Charlston Issue of Carolina Girl Magazine visit http://charleston.carolinagirl.sc/

Carolina Girl Nov/Dec 2009 - Charleston Issue  

To read the current edition of the Charlston Issue of Carolina Girl Magazine visit http://charleston.carolinagirl.sc/

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