“Much of it is based on family history,” said Karen Karsif, MD, Medical Director at the Center for Breast Health at Good Samaritan Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) in Suffern. “Most people think only about the mother’s side, but the father’s family is equally important.”
In addition to family history, doctors consider biopsies with abnormal cells or questionable mammogram results. Obesity is another factor for all cancers, not just breast cancer, but the availability of hard data is limited. Alcohol intake should also be kept to a drink or two a day, at most, said Dr. Karsif.
The good news is that reproductive factors, including the length of a woman’s period, or the onset of early menopause, have minimal impact. Dr. Karsif advised that “it’s best to establish a baseline for mammograms at age 40 and continue every year thereafter.”
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