Ask almost any health-conscious woman who’s mustered under a giant pink ribbon, and she’ll tell you what an American woman’s chances are of getting breast cancer in her lifetime: one-in-eight.
But that’s a national average. And as the relative influence of genes, behavior and environmental factors on cancer risk come into clearer focus, women increasingly have begun to understand that they’re not all average.
New research is helping to refine those numbers, and to clarify what it would take for a woman to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. It concludes that, at some point in her life span, a 30-year-old white woman in the United States has a probability of developing breast cancer that lies somewhere between 4.4% and 23.5%.
Published Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology, the study concludes that as many as 29% of breast cancer diagnoses among such women could be prevented or delayed if all women maintained a healthy body weight, did not use menopausal hormone therapy, drank little and did not smoke.