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What is Breast Cancer?

"Coronary heart disease--often simply called heart disease-occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to a buildup of plaque on the arteries' inner walls. Plaque is the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. As plaque continues to build up in the arteries, blood flow to the heart is reduced.

Heart disease can lead to a heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes totally blocked with plaque, preventing vital oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. A heart attack can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle."

The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

American College of Radiology
Recommendations for Breast Cancer Screening for Women of Average Risk
  • Women age 40 and older (who have no symptoms) should have an annual mammogram. 

  • Screening mammography should continue as long as the woman is in good health and is willing to undergo additional testing (including biopsy) if an abnormality is detected.

  • If you are or may be at high risk for breast cancer, you should speak with your doctor to decide if additional screening tests might be right for you. 


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Major Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Being Born a Female

The #1 risk factor for breast cancer is being born female and that risk increases with age.

Family History

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your chance of heart disease, and is dangerous because it often has no symptoms. Prevent high blood pressure by reducing sodium (salt) intake, being active, and keeping a healthy weight. 

Dense breasts

When there is too much cholesterol—a fatlike substance—in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries and increases your risk of developing heart disease. Know your total cholesterol, your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and your HDL (good) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Make an appointment to get tested.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. About two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. If you are overweight or obese, you are at higher risk of developing heart disease. 

Inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are active. The good news is that physical activity can protect your heart and you don't have to run a marathon to see benefits. Regular physical activity can also reduce your chances of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 

Carbohydrates are a great source of energy for our bodies—but if you eat too many at one time, your blood glucose may get too high. If your blood glucose stays too high for too long, it can lead to serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

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