More than 41,000 breast cancer patients die from the disease annually. Breast cancer is the second most pervasive form of cancer in women around the world. While some groups tend to develop the disease more frequently than others, it affects people regardless of their ethnic backgrounds. Understanding some common ties between breast cancer patients, though, can help you understand what your own risks are.

Female and Male Breast Cancer Patients

breast cancer tapeSome people think that breast cancer is a disease that only affects women. We may automatically think only about women when breasts are mentioned, but the truth is, men can get breast cancer, too. The incidence in men is rare, though, since there are nearly 100 times more female breast cancer patients than male.

Genetics of Breast Cancer Patients

Research has shown that in the U.S. white women have a higher chance of developing breast cancer than those of other races. Still, the disease can strike anyone regardless of color or ethnic background. Genetics is a significant factor in determining your odds of becoming a breast cancer patient. If a person’s family has a history of breast cancer, then she is usually at an elevated risk of developing the disease. If you do not have a family history of breast cancer, your risk may be lower, but you can still get the disease. The sad truth is, no one gets a free pass that says they will never develop breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Patients and Lifestyle Choices

There is very little you can do about your genetics. Besides keeping a close eye out for early symptoms, a person can make smart lifestyle choices that will lower their risk of becoming a breast cancer patient. For example, we now know that obesity and being overweight increases your chances of getting breast cancer. Women who eat well-balanced diets, avoid foods with high levels of fat, and get regular aerobic exercise have a lower chance of getting breast cancer – as well as reducing their risk for developing many, many other ailments.

Research has also shown that women who have children after the age of 35, or who do not have children at all, also have a greater risk of breast cancer. Likewise, women who decide not to breastfeed put themselves in a higher risk category.

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