A pink rose to commemorate those affected by breast cancer. A look at  Breast Cancer
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   Risk Factors

MEDICAL AND FAMILY HISTORY
DIET AND LIFESTYLE
RACE AND ETHNIC ORIGIN
ENVIRONMENT



AGE

Scientists conclude that 75% of all breast cancer cases occur in women over the age of 40. The National Cancer Institute Surveillance Program states that women ages 20-30 have a one in 2, 415 chance of getting breast cancer. Women ages 70-80 have a one in 25 chance of getting the disease. Females who start their periods at an early age (before twelve) and women who undergo menopause over 50 are at greater risk for developing breast cancer. Women who bear children before the age of 30 are at less risk to develop cancer than women who never get pregnant. This is different in cases of abortion, however. Fred Hutchinson studied women for a period of seven years at the Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. His studies show that women who had abortions were at a much larger risk for developing breast cancer.



MEDICAL AND FAMILY HISTORY

Medical and family history also have a large part in the risk of getting cancer. Women who have had a history of cancer in their family are at greater risk of developing breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute also approximates that 15% of women who have had breast cancer once will develop it a second time. Dr. Kenneth Oftit, at Memorial Slom-Ketty Cancer Center said, “Perhaps only 5% of breast cancer is strictly inherited, but this accounts for only 40% of cases that appear before the age of 30.”


DIET AND LIFESTYLE

Women who do not follow the proper diet are more apt to develop cancer. Studies have been conducted where Japanese and American women were observed and compared. Japanese women had lower cancer rates due to the fact that their diets were healthier and quite lower in fat than their American counterparts. Women who consume alcohol regularly have also been found to have higher risk for cancer. Women who have high educational levels and make more money develop cancer more than poor, uneducated women.



RACE AND ETHNIC ORIGIN

White and Jewish women are at higher risk for breast cancer, while African-American women are at lower risk for breast cancer. However, in cases where African-American women do get breast cancer, they are more apt to die from it. A study conducted at the University of Texas Health and Science Center in San Antonio explains why this might be so. It showed that African-American women had more actively dividing cells, so that the cancer spread more quickly. In addition, African-American females developed deadlier types of the cancer in ages 45 and up.



ENVIRONMENT

Smokers and women who have had contact with radiation face higher risks of developing breast cancer. Pesticides such as DDT have also been suspected to cause cancer. Women who lives in bigger cities have a higher risk of developing cancer because of pollution due to industry.

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©2003 Ashley Cisneros

Send me an E-mail at acisnero@ufl.edu

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