Health Watch: 6 lesser-known facts about breast cancer

With one in eight American women developing breast cancer, most of us know someone who has fought this terrible disease. However, there are some lesser-known breast cancer facts.

Did you know that most lumps are not breast cancer? About 90% of lumps are something else.

Researcher Svasti Haricharan, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Department of Tumor Microenvironment and Cancer Immunology, Sanford Burnham Prebys says breast cancer has other warning signs.

"A lot of women are not aware of the fact that just having redness or a rash can be a sign of breast cancer - actually a sign of really aggressive breast cancer - that shows up really quickly and then metastasizes and results in death really quickly," says Dr. Haricharan.

There are some risk factors over which you have control, such as being overweight or obese. Also, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of developing breast cancer, and that risk increases 10% for each additional drink.

The standard age to begin mammograms is 45, but it really depends on family history.

"If you have a genetic predisposition or family history of breast cancer, then going younger in your 30s is really important," continued Dr. Haricharan.

Some experts say to start no later than ten years before the age of the earliest diagnosis in the family.

Your ethnicity can also affect your outcome: while white women are more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women, African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer at any age.

Contributors: Hayley Hudson, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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