Breast cancer is a common cancer in women, but can affect men as well. Some women are more at risk than others.
Breast cancer is so common that many families will have a relative who has developed it. If it is a first degree relative, mother, sister or daughter it can increase the risk of developing cancer, therefore it is important to be aware of breast examination.
Age is the greatest risk factor, as it is extremely rare under the age of 30, unusual up to 40, then the incidence increase over 50. Because of this the N.H.S offer free mammogram's to all women over the age of 50 through the N.H.S Breast Screening Program.
Normally you will be contacted by your G.P after you reach 50 and offered an appointment, if you are concerned and have not heard, contact your G.P for advice. Studies linking breast cancer associated with taking the combined oral contraceptive showed some increase in risk, but this study also noted that the risk diminished 10yrs after stopping taking the pill. However studies involving the use of HRT continuously for 10yrs suggests that it does not appear to increase the risk, and this fact must be balanced by the benefits of HRT.
Early detection often means better choices of treatment, and there are now many effective treatments, resulting in 2/3rds of women diagnosed being alive and well 5yrs or more after treatment. The most important factor must be that should you detect a lump, seek help earlier rather than later as it may not always be cancer.
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