If breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, can I get it?

Yes. Every woman has some risk of breast cancer. About 80% of women who get breast cancer have no known family history of the disease. Increasing age is the biggest single risk factor for breast cancer. For those women who do have a family history of breast cancer, your risk may be elevated a little, a lot, or not at all. If you are concerned, discuss your family history with your physician or a genetic counselor. You may be worrying needlessly.

My mammogram was normal, do I have to worry about breast cancer?

While mammography does catch the vast majority of breast cancers, it is only one screening tool. Women should also have a breast exam done by their health care provider each year. If you feel a lump, always get it checked out, even if your last mammogram was clear. Also, it’s important to get a mammogram every year. The power of screening comes with regular annual exams. Doctors will look at previous years’ mammograms to assess changes in the breast over time.

I am 30 years old, am I too young to worry about breast cancer?

Breast cancer can affect women of any age. The disease is more common in postmenopausal women, but 25 percent of women with breast cancer are younger than 50. Younger women should have a yearly breast exam by their doctor and begin mammographic screening at age 40. While a breast mass in a younger woman is much less likely to be cancer than a lump in an older woman, it still needs to be checked out. At the same time, you’re never too old to get breast cancer. If you feel a lump – at any age – have it checked out.

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