The biggest single risk factor for breast cancer is age. Scientists explain that the wear and tear of living increase the that a genetic abnormality or "mistake" in a gene will develop in cells that your body does not find and repair.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 77% of diagnoses of breast cancer occur in women older than 50 years of age. In fact, the average age of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer is early 60s.
This does not mean, however, that woman in their 50s, 40s, 30s, and even their 20s do not get breast cancer. For example, according to the ACS, approximately 18% of breast cancer occur in women who are in their 40s.
The age risk factor simply means that the older a woman gets, the greater her risk for breast cancer becomes. Also, the age risk factor does not mean that all women over 60 will get breast cancer. Instead, the risk factor of age just means that women over 60 are more likely to get breast cancer than do women in their 40s or 50s.
The following are some examples of the risk of women at different ages being diagnosed with breast cancer.
• From birth to age 39, 1 woman in 231 will get breast cancer (<0.5% risk).
• From ages 40-59, the chance is 1 in 25 (4% risk).
• From ages 60-79, the chance is 1 in 15 (nearly 7% risk).
• Assuming that you live to 90, the chance of getting breast cancer over the course of an entire lifetime is 1 in 8 (an overall risk of 12.5%).
Regardless of your age,you can take charge of maintaining breast health. be diligent about monitoring breast health, and stay current with monthly self breast exams, annual clinical breast exams, and mammograms. Consult your doctor for advice about other preventative measures that you can consider.
The key is to not allow yourself to be consumed with worry. A healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude are great contributors to wellness.