According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, more than 300,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer each year — and more than 40,000 women die from the disease annually.
Here are three things every woman should be aware of to reduce their breast cancer risk:
Your risk factors
Some risk factors, like age or having dense breasts, can’t be changed. But other risk factors are alterable, including:
- Being sedentary
- Being overweight or obese after menopause
- Drinking alcohol
Your family history
If any of your biological relatives have had breast or ovarian cancer, you may be at higher risk of developing hereditary breast cancer. Talk to your family members about your family’s health history, then talk with your doctor and a genetic counselor. Women at higher risk for breast cancer will need extra screening to aid in early detection.
The risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
HRT can be helpful for women struggling with more severe menopausal symptoms. But unfortunately, HRT that contains both estrogen and progesterone can also elevate your risk for breast cancer. Work with your doctor to find the lowest dose possible to control your symptoms — and take it for the shortest period of time needed.