Soon after her son was born, Melissa Thompson noticed a small bump in her left breast. She called her doctor and was startled to get the instruction "come in right away." Suddenly, what had at first been a minor development seemed life threatening. What if she had breast cancer?
Fortunately for Melissa, the lump was early mastitis, an easily treated and nonthreatening condition many nursing moms encounter. But the experience was a wake-up call, she says.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) says breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women. More than 190,000 in the U.S. will be diagnosed with the disease in 2001. Breast cancer death rates did decline significantly between 1992 and 1996 -- thanks largely to early detection efforts and improved treatments. But breast cancer remains a threat, and more so for some women than others.
Here are some important risk factors that play a role in determining who gets breast cancer.
Be alert to risk factors for breast cancer, but also be aware that many myths and rumors about the disease abound. The following factors have been determined by the ACS to have no impact on a woman's likelihood of developing breast cancer:
Early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer. There are steps that you can take right now to protect your health:
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.