NEW YORK--Two thirds of American women say they are personally doing something to decrease their chances of getting breast cancer, but many seem to be confused as to what constitutes the major breast cancer risk factors, results of a nationwide survey suggest.
When presented with a list of eight possible factors, 48% of the 1,331 respondents to the survey (all of whom were women aged 18 to 65) cited injury to the breast as increasing a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. Fewer were able to identify some actual breast cancer risk factors: 42% cited "not having children," 38% listed "having first child after age 30," and only 25% checked "beginning to menstruate before age 11."
When asked to cite the three most important risk factors for breast cancer from a list of nine such factors, 91% correctly identified heredity as an important factor, but 53% cited smoking as being among the top three.
Environmental factors were cited by 37% of the respondents, and diet by 33%. Not having children was ranked in the top three by 24% of women, and 18% cited stress as an important breast cancer risk factor. The three lowest rated factors on the list were obesity (17%), lack of exercise (10%), and alcohol(Drug information on alcohol) consumption (10%).
When to Get a Mammogram?
The survey also revealed misinformation about mammography among the respondents. About one third said they were confused about how often they should have a mammogram, and more than half (58%) seemed to think that women under age 40 should have regular mammograms. (These women disagreed with the statement: "Regular mammo-grams are unnecessary for women under 40 years of age.")
Almost 80% of the respondents believe a woman should not wait for her physician to recommended a screening mammogram before getting one. Sixty percent said they have had a mammo-gram, including 35% of those 18 to 39 years of age.