February 10, 2006, Newsletter Issue #4: Analyzing Your Risk of Getting Breast Cancer

Tip of the Week

You've performed a breast cancer risk assessment and discovered you're more likely than the average woman to get breast cancer. What's next? Before you run out and make drastic changes to your body and your lifestyle, analyze what the numbers really mean. Say you have a 30 percent chance of getting breast cancer. It seems high, but you can look at it another way--you have a 70 percent chance of not getting breast cancer. The odds are definitely in your favor. You may be able to reduce your risk of getting breast cancer by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Watch your weight, exercise daily, and eat a low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get regular mammograms as soon as your doctor starts recommending them. Some women who feel they're at very high risk opt to take drugs that can prevent breast cancer, or even to have their breasts removed. Because such measures can have serious repercussions, you should talk at length with your doctor about whether the benefits of any preventive measure outweigh the potentially negative consequences. Instead of asking, "What causes breast cancer?" start asking, "What prevents breast cancer?"

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