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Breast Cancer Awareness Month | EP. 01

Breast Cancer Awareness Month | EP. 01


Female breast cancer surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world 2.3 million new cases in 2020 (approx. 12%).

(Sung, H, Ferlay, J., Siegel, R.L., et al. Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2021 May/June; 71(3): 209-249.


1 in 8 women & 1 in 833 men will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime.


Breast Cancer prevalence has risen over the last 50 years.


  • NATURE: Genetic predisposition
  • NURTURE: Diet, lifestyle, environmental triggers


“Genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger”


Commonly Known Risk Factors


  • Lifetime estrogen exposures:
  • Late or no pregnancy
  • Late menopause after age 55
  • Early menarche
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) > 5 yrs - especially estrone estrogens + progestins
  • Oral contraceptives – estrogen-based
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Personal & Family History of Cancer
  • Dense breasts
  • Radiation Treatment
  • DES exposure – medication given to pregnant women to prevent miscarriage between 1940 - 1971
  • Alcohol – risk related to consumption amount
  • Smoking – stronger risk in pre-menopausal women

(BCPP -Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP). 2017.

“Epidemiological data strongly suggest that a woman's risk of developing breast cancer is directly related to her lifetime estrogen exposure. Estrogen replacement therapy in particular has been correlated with an increased cancer risk.” 

(Zhang F, et al. Equine estrogen metabolite 4-hydroxyequilenin induces DNA damage in the rat mammary tissues: formation of single-strand breaks, apurinic sites, stable adducts, and oxidized bases. Chem Res Toxicol. 2001;14(12):1654-9.)