By Steve Martinez, MD, The Everett Clinic Surgical Oncology
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among women and is the second leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. It can be a highly curable disease if detected and treated early.
Reducing Your Risk for Breast Cancer
About 1 in 8 (roughly 12%) American women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Some risk factors like age and genetics can’t be changed, but some, like limiting your alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy weight, are in your control. You may have an increased risk if any of the following apply to you:
- Family history of breast cancer: The amount of increased risk is variable and may depend on the particulars of a woman’s family history and the type of gene mutation(s) present.
- Previous breast cancer
- Menstruation history: Women who started their periods when they were younger than 12 and/or who went through menopause after age 55 are at slightly higher risk for breast cancer.
- Age: After gender, age is the strongest risk factor for developing breast cancer. The older the woman is, the higher her risk. By the time she is 29, a woman only has a 1 in 2000 (0.05%) chance of being diagnosed with a breast cancer, but a 59 year old woman has a 1 in 50 (2%) chance.
- Obesity: Fat tissue may contribute to increased risk when present in higher amounts in the body.
- Alcohol: The risk for breast cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.
In addition to being aware of risk factors, early detection plays a big role in cancer outcomes. The following screenings are recommended:
- Screening mammogram can help detect the disease in its early, most treatable, stages. Experts have different recommendations for mammography. Talk with your provider about your personal risk factors before deciding when to have a mammogram.
- Clinical breast exam (CBE) is a physical examination of the breast done by a health care provider. Women should talk with their provider about their personal risk factors and when they should have a CBE.
- Breast self-examination (BSE) is the best way for a woman to become familiar with how her breasts normally feel so that she can provide information as to whether lumps or thickenings are new or have been present for a long time.
For more information, go to everettclinic.com/cancer and click on Cancer Partnership.
The Everett Clinic is pleased to welcome fellowship-trained breast and endocrine surgeon Dr. Steve R. Martinez to our cancer care team. Dr. Martinez comes to us from the University of California, Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center where he was Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology. His training and experience allow Dr. Martinez to offer his patients the most advanced and minimally invasive procedures in breast surgery. He incorporates several advanced techniques into his practice, including the use of the sentinel lymph node biopsy, skin and nipple-sparing mastectomy and onco-plastic lumpectomy for breast cancer. Learn more about our dedicated breast surgeon, Dr. Martinez at everettclinic.com/Martinez.
The Providence Regional Cancer Partnership is a collaboration of The Everett Clinic, Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, Western Washington Medical Group, and Northwest Washington Radiology Oncology Associates. We offer all aspects of outpatient cancer care under one roof. Our team approach allows us to develop a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan for each patient that benefits from the extra time and knowledge we devote to their care. The Cancer Partnership is a Commission on Cancer accredited program.