Riverview Physicians for Women

Call us directly: 804.524.0890

439 Jennick Drive, Colonial Heights, Virginia 23834 View Location

Breast and Ovarian Cancer

Women are justifiably concerned about breast cancer since it is the most common cancer affecting women. Factors, which decrease your risk of breast cancer, are:

  • No family history of breast cancer
  • Young age at time of first pregnancy
  • More than 1 pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Weighing close to ideal body weight
  • Diet low in fat
  • Black, Asian, or Hispanic ancestry (African-American women are at less risk of getting the disease, but the disease tends to be more aggressive if they get it).
  • Exercise
  • Low alcohol intake
  • Male gender (1 man will get breast cancer for about every 100 women)
  • Young age (the risk of breast cancer increases with age)

Factors, which increase your risk of breast cancer, are the opposite of the above and include:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Over 30 at time of first pregnancy
  • Never pregnant
  • Did not breast feed
  • Obese
  • High fat diet
  • White race
  • Sedentary life style
  • High alcohol intake
  • Female gender
  • Older age
  • Breast biopsies for benign disease
  • Radiation therapy to the chest
  • Personal history of breast cancer

Obviously a woman with a family history of breast cancer can't change that; but she can reduce her risk by exercising, losing weight as well as decreasing fat and alcohol in her diet. Early detection of breast cancer offers the best chance for cure and to that end we offer in office screening and diagnostic, state of the art, digital mammograms. A Registered Technologist in Radiology & Mammography performs your digital mammogram to the highest standards. Screening mammography is recommended for all women annually beginning at age 40. However, if you have a lifetime risk of getting breast cancer >20% or have had breast cancer, you should have more aggressive screening for breast cancer. This is why it is vitally important to make us aware of any change in your family history of breast and ovarian cancer so we can update your lifetime risk assessment and plan appropriate screening and management. If indicated, we perform BRAC analysis and counseling in our office so that, if necessary, pro-active steps can be taken which can markedly reduce the risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer.

On balance, remember that lung cancer causes almost twice as many deaths as breast cancer and colon cancer runs a close third. So if you smoke, quit and have a screening colonoscopy at age 50 (sooner if you have a family history of colon cancer).