Studies show that one in eight women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to raise awareness and educate women on the importance of scheduling annual breast screenings. Though the vast majority of diagnoses occur in women over the age of 50, it’s crucial that younger women take the necessary precautions to prevent the disease.
Less than seven percent of breast cancer cases happen to women under the age of 40, however, there are many factors that may put young women at risk. Certain factors that may increase one’s susceptibility to the disease include:
- Having a history of breast cancer in the family
- History of radiation treatments on the chest before the age of 40
- Receiving a period before the age of 12
- Dense breasts
- Ethnically identify as White or African American
- Heavy alcohol use
- High intake of red meat
In addition, women who are highly exposed to estrogen are more prone to breast cancer. High exposure to estrogen can occur in females who receive their period before the age of 12, experience late menopause, have done menopausal hormone therapy or use oral contraceptives, such as birth control pills.
Though women can’t always control their exposure to estrogen or their family history, there are some things that women in their 20s and 30s can do to prevent breast cancer. To reduce the likelihood of getting breast cancer, women should be physically active, maintain a healthy body weight, reduce alcohol intake, eliminate tobacco and schedule annual breast screenings.
This month, take the time to administer a self-examination and schedule a time to meet with your doctor for a screening. Continue to spread awareness about breast cancer by encouraging your loved ones to do the same.
Nevada Health Link insurance plans cover preventative health care costs. To learn more or receive answers to additional questions that you may have, email the Nevada Health Link staff at customerserviceNVHL@exchange.nv.gov or call at 1-855-7NVLINK (855-768-5465).