• Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Using HRT can increase a woman’s risk of developing and dying from breast cancer. This risk can be increased after just two years of using HRT.
Drinking alcohol has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and the risk increases with every drink consumed per day.
• Overweight and Obesity
Being overweight, especially post menopause, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. The more body fat a woman has, the higher her estrogen levels typically are, increasing her risk of developing breast cancer.
The early stages of breast cancer typically show no symptoms. However, as the cancer progresses, some symptoms may be noticed. These can include:
• A lump or thickened breast tissue
• Changes in breast size or shape
• Changes in the texture of the skin of the breast or nipple, including dimpling or puckering
• Nipple discharge, especially if the discharge is bloody
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
“Early detection of breast cancer is critical because it gives a woman her best chance at beating it,” said Dr. VanNess. “The five-year survival rate for localized breast cancer, which is simply cancer that has not spread to lymph nodes or other locations outside the breast, is 98 percent.”
The Indiana State Department of Health Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IN-BCCP) provides access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, diagnostic testing and treatment for underserved and underinsured women. Eligibility for the program is determined by age, income and family size. For more information on the IN-BCCP and to check eligibility, call 855-435-7178 or visit www.in.gov/isdh/24967.htm.
To learn more about breast cancer, including information on signs and symptoms, benefits of early detection and behaviors that can help decrease risk, please refer to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012 report, a comprehensive report on the burden of cancer in Indiana, by visiting www.indianacancer.org.