Being a women and getting older are the two biggest risk factors for breast cancer, but there are several other risk factors to consider.

Kelly Jensen, Physician Assistant from the Mercy Health Comprehensive Breast Center in Muskegon, stopped by The Exchange to discuss what to watch for.

As previously mentioned, being female and aging, but beyond that, a family history is a primary risk factor. Family history is especially noteworthy when those relatives with breast cancer are close relatives and diagnosed young (before menopause).

Mercy Health Comprehensive Breast Centers can evaluate an individual’s risk at any time, but risk changes with time and family history so it can be reassessed over time. For example, when a woman is 20 and her mother maybe in her 40's, there may not be many cancers, but at 30 with a mother in her 50's, she may have a new risk picture at that point. Screening typically begins a minimum of 10 years before the closest relative was diagnosed, but can begin even earlier depending on risk.

If you or someone that you know thinks they could be at risk for breast cancer, talk to a healthcare provider. Mercy Health Comprehensive Breast Centers have high risk coordinators who evaluate and work with you individually.

As the only centers of their kind in West Michigan, Mercy Health Comprehensive Breast Centers deliver prompt, personal, specialized care for all aspects of breast health. The centers focus on total breast health — from screening mammograms and lifetime cancer risk assessments to, when necessary, the latest surgical procedures and treatments.

Learn more at MercyHealthBreastCare.com or call 616-685-6756 in Grand Rapids or 231-727-7926 along the lakeshore.

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