How to Assess Your Risk of Getting Breast Cancer

By Monica Wilcox

I need your help to save the lives of millions of women.  But first we’re going to save YOURS.

Here are some critical facts to help you keep your breasts healthy and cancer free.

Assessing Your Risk

  • Your biggest risk factor for breast cancer is age.  95% of new cases and 97 % of breast cancer deaths occur in women 40 years or older.  If you’re over 40 preventive measures are mandatory.
  • Your left breast is statistically more prone to developing cancer than your right one. Scientists are not sure why.
  • Only 5-10% of breast cancers occur in women with a genetic predisposition.  Just because this disease doesn’t run in your family DOESN’T mean you’re in the clear.
  • Women WITH the gene mutation run a lifetime risk as high as 4 in 5 of developing the disease.  If the women in your family (maternal AND paternal) have battled breast cancer get educated and find a fantastic doctor.
  • Over 50; get your mammogram. It’s been estimated that if every women over 50 got a yearly mammogram, breast cancer deaths in this age group would drop by 25% or more. If you’re under 50 talk to your doctor about when you should start getting mammograms or a breast thermography.
  • If you live in the U.S you have the highest risk of getting breast cancer in the world.
  • Being overweight increases your risk. Research has found a strong correlation between increased weight and breast cancer, especially for those who gained weight in adolescence or after menopause.
  • Breastfeeding your baby has consistently been shown to lower your risk of breast cancer.
  • If you’ve been on hormone replacement therapy for more than 5 years, you have a higher risk of getting breast cancer, especially if both estrogen and progesterone are given together.  If you’re on HRT or if you are premenopausal, thoroughly evaluate your options.
  • If you are of Ashkenazi (French, German, and East European) Jewish descent you have a significantly higher (1 in 40) chance of carrying the breast cancer gene.
  • Nurses who work night shifts and flight attendants who disrupt their circadian rhythm are at a higher risk for breast cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancerrecently concluded shift work, especially at night, is carcinogenic to humans.
  • If your breasts are dense, your risk goes up 4 to 6 fold over women with lower breast density.

Now that you’ve got a grasp on your risk, let’s talk…


Think of your body as your castle and these preventative measures as your defensive walls.  Many of these tips come from Owning Pink’s holistic guru, Dr. Lissa Rankin.

  • Being socially isolated and stressed out increases the speed at which breast cancer tumors grow. A happy spirit lends to a happy body. Are we really all that surprised?
  • “Medicate” each and every cell with healthy food:
    • Eat 4-5 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, preferably raw.
    • Limit your intake of red meat.
    • Add fiber whenever you can.
    • Avoid drinking more than one glass of alcohol per day. If you do drink, make sure you are getting enough folic acid in your diet. You may need a supplement.
    • Use extra-virgin olive oil, raw flaxseed oil, and cod liver oil.
    • Chow down on these antioxidant super foods: kale, beets, carrots, beans, collard greens, brussel sprouts, blueberries, and broccoli.  If you hate veggies, Lissa recommends you try Sun Chlorella.
    • Jump on the green juice bandwagon – it alkalinizes your body. Cancer prefers an acidic environment.
    • Avoid dairy or use organic butter, cheese, and milk.  They are less likely to be contaminated with human growth hormones or estrogen.
    • Limit sugar. Cancer loves sugar.
    • If you are at high risk talk to your doctor about supplements you can take.
  • Practice monthly breast exams.
  • Get SOME sun - 20 minutes a day keeps cancer away.
  • Attitude counts – patients are more likely to survive if they don’t take on an identity of “breast cancer victim”.  Visualize your breasts as healthy. Eliminate all fearful thoughts of breast cancer and BELIEVE that you have the power within, and the measures without, to stay healthy.

Now to Save the Life of Your Mother, Daughter, Sister, Best Girlfriend…

I don’t have breast cancer. But I know I’ve got, along with every other red-blooded American women, a 1 in 8 shot (compared to 1 in 11 in 1970) of being diagnosed with this disease. Now that we’ve covered our personal risk factors, and know the preventative steps we can take to stay healthy, the next step is to help support those who are in the trenches, fighting to find a cure, dreaming of a day when breast cancer is no longer the second deadliest form of cancer to women (behind lung cancer).

Because I don’t believe an individual has to be in the throes of a disease to do somthing about it, I’ve committed my legs to doing the 3-Day For The Cure.  I’ll be walking 60 miles around San Francisco over 3 days, sleeping in one of a hundred pink tents, celebrating LIFE with breast cancer survivors and the STRUGGLE with hundreds of mournful family members.

For the last three months I’ve been training with my team, The LiveMore Girls (we live in Livermore, CA), walking over 500 miles to prepare for this walk and raising money to meet my pledge. I only have a few weeks left before the big event and I desperately need a FEW PINK SPONSORS to help me meet my pledge. Your donation goes directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which contributes the greatest amount of money to breast cancer research behind the U.S. government.  In the last few weeks I have trained with survivors who know they would not be alive today if it were not for the groundbreaking research that has been done in the last 5 years. Every donation counts and I’d be VERY, VERY honored to have your pink support as I walk the walk.  I’ll walk a mile in YOUR name (or the name of a loved one) if you make tax deductable contribution and sponsor me.

In the meantime, empower every woman you love by sharing this information so they can assess their own risk and raise up their defensive walls.

Do you have a breast cancer story to share?  Have you empowered the “C word” by fearing it? Do you believe that knowledge and attitude can fight off disease?

Monica Wilcox


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Megan S.
Megan S.4 years ago

Page 2 basically says "GO RAW VEGAN"!

I agree- too many animal products; too many unnatural foods; lazy lifestyle. Vitamin D plays a huge role. Women who get more than an hour of sunlight a day are 33% less likely to develop breast cancer.
I also read an interesting thing about not accepting feminity causing energy to clog allowing tumors to form.
Eating raw fruits and veggies, organic, little, if any, animal products, exercise, get sunlight, embrace feminity, and one should be fine. Cancer is such a stilly thing. Too many cry out for a cure when really, there is no need. Prevention is more imnportant, but we Americans don't like to try until we hit rock bottom. (Generally speaking of course, it's sometimes hard to avoid the chemicals in our environment).

Aluminum deoderant is also a HUGE culprit. So is make-up, shampoos, and anything laiden with chemicals. Nature provides everything we need. It's such a shame Big Business tries to keep us from knowing that!

Christa Leduc
Christa Leduc4 years ago

I don't support cancer research for the simple reason that cancer can be prevented and cured naturally. Deborah Kampfer's post is right on.

More than 15 years ago a mammogram discovered a lump in my left breast. I was supposed to have a biopsy which I refused after doing my own research on the subject. First of all by doing a biopsy chances are that the cancer can go into your bloodstream and spread. Second, chemo kills the good cells with the cancer cells and weakens your immune system. Third, at that time the survival rate was on average 5 years with treatment. People who received NO treatment survived on average 12 years.

I cam across two books written by women who had undergone chemo, radiation and bone marrow transplants. The doctors gave them only six months more to live. They went on a raw vegan diet together with daily doses of wheatgrass juice. After about four months they were cancer free.

I went on this raw vegan diet and wheatgrass juice, no meat, no fish, dairy, fat, sugar, salt, alcohol or caffein, plus exercise. I never had any treatment and I feel better than I ever have, all my health problems disappeared. Needless to say, I am still 100% vegan.

Here are the names and authors of the books: "How I Conquered Cancer Naturally" Eydie Mae with Chris Loeffler; "A Cancer Battle Plan" Anne E. Fråhm with David J. Fråhm; I read many other books on the subject, too many to post them here and each one comes to the same conclusion.

Ann M.
Ann M.4 years ago

Great article. Thanks.

Hillary K.
Hillary K.4 years ago

Wow, thanks for this...kind of a wake up call :)

Past Member
Past Member 4 years ago

I've had some hormonal problem including swollen painful breasts...well low and behold it was my anti-perspirant. I have used different ones over the years. Now all my problems have vanished in 2 months. Could the use of underarm be causing this rise in breast cancer? Maybe. Something to think about.

Anna Borsey
Anna Borsey4 years ago

I have had breast cancer, but in my case it was the RIGHT breast that developed a tumour.

I have been a staunch vegetarian - now virtually vegan - since 1976, I am a life-long non-smoker, I drink very little alcohol, I have exercised regularly all my life and am not overweight, I have never taken any HRT BUT I STILL developed a malignant breast tumour!

I have never had any children so the breastfeeding does not apply.

I refused to take the Tamoxifen I was prescribed. Unfortunately, I was too demoralised to also refuse the daily, over a period of six-weeks, radiation doses. I deeply regret having agreed to this profoundly depleating and utterly exhausting "therapy".

Jana Puz
Jana Puz4 years ago

wouldn't agree with the atricle. recently have read great book THE CHINA STUDY ( about "modern illnesses caused by too much animal-based food and breast cancer is one of them. others are diabetes, heart attack, stroke, obesity, cancer in general,...

Deborah Kampfer
Deborah Vitek4 years ago

Not mentioned (if you research you will learn this) is the fact that we get cancer and our bodies get rid of it on a fairly regular basis. Breast cancer is so common now because of all the testing and often these small cancers are found and treated that would actually go away on their own.

Personally, I figure what is to be will be. I will not buy into all the pharmaceuticals even if I have cancer because they make no difference. Again, if you research you will find that some people get over cancer and some don't and all the drugs do not make a difference, except to the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies.

Be wise, eat right, exercise, don't smoke and understand that there is a time that all of us will die. Six extra months will sick on chemotherapy and leaving huge medical bills behind (in the U.S.) is really not worth it. Quality of life is what is important.

Kathy K.
Kathy K.4 years ago

Great info. Thanks.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you