At RRCF, we hope to answer some of your most important questions about breast cancer while providing support and hope for those who have been diagnosed. If you have questions, you have come to the right place. Listed below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about breast cancer.

Can physical activity reduce the risk of breast cancer?
Exercise pumps up the immune system and lowers estrogen levels. With as little as four hours of exercise per week, a woman can begin to lower her risk of breast cancer.

Can a healthy diet help prevent breast cancer?
A nutritious, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. A high-fat diet increases the risk because fat triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumor growth.

Does smoking cause breast cancer?
At this point in time there is no conclusive link between smoking and breast cancer. However, due to the number of health risks associated with smoking, quitting can significantly increase survival rates.

Can drinking alcohol increase the risk of breast cancer?
One or two drinks a day has been shown to slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. The greater the levels consumed, the higher the risk.

Is there a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer?
There is an increased risk of breast cancer for women under 35 who have been using birth control pills for more than ten years.

How often should I do a breast self-exam (BSE)?
Give yourself a breast self-exam at least once a month. Look for any changes in breast tissue, such as changes in size, a lump, dimpling or puckering of the breast, or a discharge from the nipple. If you discover a persistent lump in your breast or any changes in breast tissue, it is very important that you see a physician immediately. However, 8 out of 10 lumps are benign, or not cancerous.

Does a family history of breast cancer put someone at a higher risk?
If you have a grandmother, mother, sister, or daughter who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, this does put you in a higher risk group. Have a baseline mammogram at least five years before the age of breast cancer onset in any close relatives, or starting at age 35. See your physician at any sign of unusual symptoms.

Are Mammograms Painful?
Mammography does compress the breasts and can sometimes cause slight discomfort for a very brief period of time. Patients who are sensitive should schedule their mammograms a week after their menstrual cycle so that the breasts are less tender.

How does menstrual and reproductive history affect breast cancer risks?
Women who began their menstrual cycles before age 12, have no children, or had their first child at 30 or older, or began menopause after 55 are at a higher risk.

How Often Should I Go To My Doctor For A Checkup?
You should have a physical every year. If any unusual symptoms or changes in your breasts occur before your scheduled visit, do not hesitate to see the doctor immediately.

What Kind Of Impact Does Stress Have On Breast Cancer?
Although some studies have shown that factors such as traumatic events and losses can alter immune system functions, these studies have not provided any evidence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship between stress and breast cancer. An area currently being studied is whether or not stress reduction can improve immune response and slow progression in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

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