WTAP @ 5: To Your Health Report: Breast Cancer Basics

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

If you're worried about your chances of developing breast cancer, this doesn't mean you have to go under the knife like actress Angelina Jolie.

Women develop breast cancer for a variety of reasons, and there are things you can do to help reduce your risks.

April Williams has more in today's Health Minute.

Actress Angelina Jolie recently underwent a double mastectomy after learning she had a mutation in a gene that increases the risk of breast cancer. But only a small fraction of women develop breast cancer because of genetic miswiring. Most can take less drastic steps to help prevent the disease.

"About 5% or so of breast cancers are actually caused by genetic mutations. Actually only about 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family history for breast cancer."

There are lifestyle changes that women can make that may help reduce their risks:

Start by watching your weight: obesity is linked to higher rates of breast cancer.

Get plenty of exercise to help with weight control and to keep the immune system in top shape.

Limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day - even small amounts increase the risk of breast cancer.

If you do have a family history of breast cancer, discuss it with your doctor and if he's concerned he may advise you to see a genetic counselor.

For today's Health Minute, I'm April Williams.

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