There are two types of risk factors for breast cancer.  The first is genetic and the second is lifestyle. Be aware of the genetic considerations and make the necessary changes to any lifestyle factor to help you stay healthy and decrease your chance to develop breast cancer.

Genetic Factors

  • Gender: Breast cancer occurs nearly 100 times more often in women than in men.
  • Age: Two out of three women with invasive cancer are diagnosed after age 55.
  • Race: Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in Caucasian women than women of other races.
  • Family History and Genetic Factors:  If your mother, sister, father or child has been diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer, you have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the future. Your risk increases if your relative was diagnosed before the age of 50.
  • Personal Health History:  If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the other breast in the future. Also, your risk increases if abnormal breast cells have been detected before (such as atypical hyperplasia, lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)).
  • Menstrual and Reproductive History:  Early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after 55), having your first child at an older age, or never having given birth can also increase your risk for breast cancer.
  • Certain Genome Changes: Mutations in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, can increase your risk for breast cancer. This is determined by a genetic test, which you may consider taking if you have a family history of breast cancer. Individuals with these gene mutations can pass the gene mutation on to their children.
  • Dense Breast Tissue: Having dense breast tissue can increase your risk for breast cancer and make lumps harder to detect. Several states have passed laws requiring physicians to disclose to women if their mammogram indicates that they have dense breasts so that they are aware of this risk. Be sure to ask your physician if you have dense breasts and what the implications of having dense breasts are.

Environmental And Lifestyle Risk Factors

  • Lack of Physical Activity: A sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity can increase your risk for breast cancer.
  • Poor Diet: A diet high in saturated fat and lacking fruits and vegetables can increase your risk for breast cancer.
  • Being Overweight or Obese:  Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for breast cancer. Your risk is increased if you have already gone through menopause.
  • Drinking Alcohol: Frequent consumption of alcohol can increase your risk for breast cancer. The more alcohol you consume, the greater the risk.
  • Radiation to the Chest: Having radiation therapy to the chest before the age of 30 can increase your risk for breast cancer.
  • Combined Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Taking combined hormone replacement therapy, as prescribed for menopause, can increase your risk of breast cancer and increases the risk that cancer will be detected at a more advanced stage.

Top breast cancer care combines the latest advances with compassion and sensitivity — all delivered by doctors, nurses, and support staff with the right experience. At MedStar Southern Maryland and the MedStar Georgetown Cancer Network, our breast program team provides a comprehensive approach, giving you the guidance and support you need — from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up care.

Breast Cancer Care 

MedStar Southern Maryland's breast program provides easy access to the advanced specialty care you need, with our team working together to create a comprehensive plan customized to your condition, needs, and preferences. We offer:

  • Latest Advances: Our tools and treatments include:
    • Genetic counseling
    • Access to clinical trials
    • Breast-conserving techniques that minimize scarring while sparing skin and nipples, combined with expert approaches to restore appearance
    • Targeted, precise radiation
    • State-of-the-art options for women with risk factors
  • Expert Physicians: Our network includes a full range of experienced breast cancer specialists, many of them nationally renowned. Since working together is shown to provide the best care, they comprise a multidisciplinary team that includes:
    • Medical Oncologists
    • Radiologists
    • Radiation Oncologists
    • Plastic Surgeons
    • Board-certified surgeons (many are fellowship-trained and focused exclusively on the breast)
  • Convenience: We continue to provide convenient care — in addition to our hospitals and research centers, we offer outpatient evaluation at offices located in:
    • Mitchellville, Maryland
    • McLean, Virginia
  • Complete Support: We offer a range of support to promote healing, comfort, and education, provided by our social workers, psychologists and nurse navigators —nurses who guide you and your family through the coordination of care, the delivery of services and the tough decision-making. Services also include:
    • Nutritional counseling
    • Spiritual care
    • Support groups with other patients
    • Complementary care
  • Rehab Care: The specially trained doctors, nutritionists, and physical and occupational therapists at MedStar National Rehabilitation Network help you recuperate fully and maximize the post-surgery range of motion with exercises.

MedStar S0uthern Maryland welcomes the chance to help you with an initial diagnosis or offer a second opinion. We treat a range of breast conditions — for women and men.

Contact a Specialist

Call 301-877-5607 today

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Katerini Tsiapali, MD
Breast Cancer Surgeon
Director, MedStar Breast Health Program at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

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Dr. Sarah Sher
Plastic Surgeon 

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