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The statistics on breast cancer can be scary. About one in eight women will develop the disease in her lifetime. But things are looking up. Fewer U.S. women develop and die from breast cancer with each passing year. The improvement is probably due to increased screenings and advances in treatment. About 2.5 million women living now have survived the disease.
Doctors don’t always know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesn’t. But they do know that certain factors increase your risk of developing the disease. You can control some of them, such as whether you drink alcohol. Other risk factors you can’t control. They include:
Screening and Treatment
Finding cancer early improves the chances that treatment will be effective. Some expert groups recommend getting yearly mammograms beginning at age 40, whereas others advise starting at age 50. Talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors. Together, you can choose a screening schedule that’s right for you.
If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, treatment depends on the site and stage of your cancer. Your options include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Your doctor may recommend combining two or more types of treatment.
Improving Your Chances
Even though there have been gains in the fight against breast cancer, it’s still the most common cancer among women besides skin cancer. And, it’s the second-leading cause of cancer death. Here are some ways to reduce your risk:
Find a San Diego Oncologist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego oncologist specializing in breast cancer or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.