Healthy words to live by… Breast cancer: Are you at risk?

With the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women. Some of the most common risk factors for breast cancer include:

Getting Older: Most breast cancers are found in women age 55 and older.

Family History: Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) with breast cancer almost doubles a woman’s risk. Having two first-degree relative increases the risk about three-fold.

Dense Breast Tissue: This increases the risk of breast cancer by 1 ½ to 2 times compared to a woman with average breast density.

Other risk factors include being overweight, drinking alcohol, lack of physical exercise and having postmenopausal hormone therapy.

A yearly mammogram is your best defense against breast cancer. Yet all too often, women find excuses not to have one. Women should begin having annual mammogram screenings starting at age 40 or at age 35 if they have a family history of breast cancer.

A yearly mammogram is your best defense against breast cancer.

A lump in the breast is a common warning sign, but it isn’t the only one and may not be the first to develop. Other common signs of possible breast cancer include:

Lumps in the underarm area;

Changes in breast size and shape;

Pain in a specific area that does not go away;

Prominent veins on the surface of the breast;

Nipple discharge that starts suddenly;

A sore or rash on the nipple;

Swelling, redness, or darkening of the breast;

Dimpling of the skin on the breast;

Inversion of the nipple of other parts of the breast.

To schedule a breast cancer screening at the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Pleasant Valley Hospital, please call 304-675-6257

Sources:, American Cancer Society.

Piece submitted by Pleasant Valley Hospital.