Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. According to Globocan 2020 estimates, there were approximately 2.3 million new diagnoses globally. Breast cancer incidence rates vary, and Belgium had the highest rate of breast cancer, with the United States ranking #14.1
Survival rates have vastly approved over the years as a result of screening efforts and early diagnosis. Although rare, men can get breast cancer, too. Here are a few risk factors you should be aware of and why screening is important:2
- Age: Your risk of breast cancer increases as you get older, and 2 out of 3 invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 years or older. Fewer than 5% of breast cancers occur in women under the age of 40.
- Family History: Your risk doubles if you've had one first-degree female relative (mother, sister, daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Genetics: 5-10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary.
- Weight: Women who are overweight are at greater risk, especially after menopause. Diet is also thought to contribute to 30%-40% of all cancers.
- Alcohol/Smoking: Drinking alcohol and smoking can increase a woman's risk of breast cancer.
- Dense Breasts: Women with dense breasts can be six times more likely to develop cancer, and it can be more difficult to detect cancer on a mammogram.
- Exercise: Research shows a link between exercising regularly and lower breast cancer risk.
- Chemicals: There's growing concern that pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones used on crops/livestock, mercury in seafood, industrial chemicals in food/packaging, parabens and phthalates in cosmetics, and BPA in plastics may increase breast cancer risk.
To learn more about breast cancer, please take a look through resources we've curated for you by selecting the area you're interested in above.