While the American Cancer Society has predicted an upsurge in the number of women to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, it has also said time and again that breast cancer is in fact preventable if you are aware of the risks.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death amongst American women after lung cancer. However, increased awareness, improved treatments, and early detection can all assemble together to make an effective prevention strategy. But if you are like thousands of women who do not know what may be putting them at risk, then we’d like to tell you about this easy online tool.
An online risk calculator developed by the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) can help predict if a woman could develop breast cancer in the near future. Based on six simple questions the calculator was tested using data generated by using 1.1 million women, between the age of 35 and 74.
How Does The Risk Calculator Function
Taking into account your age, ethnicity and family history, the main highlight of this calculator is that it also takes into account information about the density of your breasts and a breast biopsy. Now one may argue how these factors play any significance in determining the risk of cancer. But according to the American Cancer Society, these factors matter more than they are regarded for.
Women with denser breast tissue are more susceptible to developing breast cancer as compared to the ones who don’t. Dense breast tissue also makes it difficult to read mammograms and hence could interfere with the diagnosis.
While the creators of the calculator do regard the BRCA mutation as the prime factor in determining the risk, they also argue that only a few women seem to have it. Stressing on the importance of breast density the calculator co-creator Jeffrey A Tice, MD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco says that while the information is all there most practitioners fumble upon how to use it in a finite way. Interested in taking the test for yourself? Here is the link.
*Tip: To answer the question on your breast density, you will have to have a mammogram in advance.
While this is definitely a great leap in quantifying a woman’s risk of breast cancer, experts also suggest that women should not just rely on the calculator to determine the need or urgency to see a doctor. If you see any changes in your breasts, please report it to your physician at the earliest.