5 More than 90% of women with breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.
The biggest risk factor: to be female. The second largest: age. “Every woman is at risk, just because she is a woman,” says Caroline Ronovitch, MD, assistant dean of women’s affairs and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Herbert Wertheim School of Medicine at Florida International University in Miami.
However, if you have a family history, you may need a more vigilant examination, so ask your doctor. It is also important to know if prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer or skin cancer are present in your family, as any of these conditions may mean that you are also prone to breast cancer. And don’t forget to mention any cancer on your father’s side of the family. Dr. Laronga says both sides are counted equally.
6 Smoking is bad for your breasts.
This not only increases your risk of lung cancer: people who smoke for 10 years or more were at least 16% more likely than non-smokers to develop breast cancer, according to recent research by the University of West Virginia. Long-term exposure to second-hand smoke may increase risk. “Cigarette smoke causes chronic inflammation in your body, which can lead to cancer,” explains Dr. Wallace.