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Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer In College-Aged Women

Update Date: Oct 28, 2013 06:04 PM EDT

Breast cancer affects women under the age of 50 in a combative way. According to research assistant professor Isabelle Mercier, PhD from the University of the Sciences there are ways to lower your risk of developing the illness. 

"Unfortunately, college-age women generally do not consider themselves at risk for breast cancer," said Dr. Mercier in a news release. "However, there are several risk factors that contribute to the development of breast cancer that need to be understood early in life to prevent the development of breast cancer down the road."

Dr. Mercier said that more than 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. by the end of 2013. She also said that approximately 40,000 women would not survive. 

In hopes to bring awareness and prevent breast cancer occurrences Dr. Mercier shared some tips for women in their early 20s. 

She said it is important to check your family tree. "A family history of breast cancer, particularly in a mother or sister, can increase the chance for developing breast cancer," said Dr. Mercier. "Genetic testing is recommended for young women with prevalence of breast cancer in their families."

According to Dr. Mercier, 20 percent of cancer-associated deaths in women are the cause of obesity. "Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer by creating a cancer-friendly environment through fat cells," she said.

In addition she said exercise is crucial to lowering your risk of developing breast cancer. "Women who strive for at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity activity - like brisk walking - reduce their risk of breast cancer by 18 percent."

Limiting the consumption of alcohol is another tip. "According to new research from Washington University School of Medicine, if a female averages a drink per day, her risk of breast cancer increases by 11 percent," reported USciences. "Studies show that alcohol possesses estrogenic activity, thus promoting the growth of breast tumor cells."

Annual doctor visits are important too. "Although mammograms are not recommended for women under the age of 40, young women should still see their primary care doctors each year for clinical breast exams," said Dr. Mercier. "They are also encouraged to conduct self-examinations throughout the year."

Women smokers increase their risk of developing the illness, even more if they started smoking at a young age. "Smokers have increased levels of both estrogen and testosterone that might disrupt the endocrine signaling in women and contribute to the development of these tumors," said Dr. Mercier. 

The findings of assistant professor Isabelle Mercier are published in the University of The Sciences.

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