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Determining Your Breast Cancer Risk

Posted Oct 07 2009 12:00am
There are a lot of factors that impact one's risk of breast cancer, so becoming aware of one's personal breast cancer risk is not an easy task.  To assist with this, the National Cancer Institute developed their Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool.  According to their web site, the breast cancer risk assessment tool was designed for use by health care professionals and they recommend that anyone else using the took talk to their healthcare provider about their results.  Their breast cancer risk assessment tool asks six simple questions about history of breast cancer incidence, age, ethnicity, and reproductive history.  While this seems like a good tool for anyone interested in becoming more aware about their breast cancer risk, a similar tool that takes into account additional risk factors is also available.

The Detailed Breast Cancer Risk Calculator uses 6 of the same 7 questions used in the National Cancer Institute's risk assessment tool, but includes some additional questions in an attempt to more accurately estimate a person's breast cancer risk.  The additional questions posed in this second tool include questions about mammogram frequency, tamoxifen usage, alcohol consumption, and use of birth control.  Additionally, this breast cancer risk calculator determines a person's risk over several time periods (5, 10, 20, and 30 years) instead of just over one's lifetime.

Both of these breast cancer risk assessment tools are excellent ways to initially determine one's possible risk for breast cancer and increase one's breast cancer awareness.  However, they would be even more helpful if additional risk factors, such as body mass index, smoking habits, physical activity, and dietary habits, could be incorporated into these tools. 

To learn more about how diet and lifestyle habits can help you reduce your breast cancer risk, read my book "Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer" at
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