Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, representing 15 percent of diagnoses.
Some 12.4 percent of American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes, and an estimated 40,000 women will die of breast cancer in 2017, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Of these cancers, about 15 percent have a strong hereditary component, which is why it’s important to know your family history and talk to your doctor about genetic counseling if a close relative had breast or ovarian cancer.
Whether you have a genetic predisposition for breast cancer, there are changes anyone can make to reduce risk of the disease.
“There are risk factors that you can control, and there are risk factors you cannot control,” says Sofia Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk and Evaluation Program at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“You cannot modify your family history, but there are lifestyle factors you can modify — some more easily than others.”
Here are 7 ways you should know.