Breast cancer is a common disease, and one in sixteen women in the population will develop it before she dies. It is very rare below thirty years of age. Breast feeding seems to be protective.
There appears to be an increased risk in those women who have:
• an early onset of menstruation
• a late first pregnancy
• a late menopause
• a family history of cancer of the breast.
It is important to stress that all women should practise breast self-examination.
Mammography Mammography is a special X-ray of the breasts, having a good pick-up rate for lumps in the breasts.
It is recommended for the high-risk group, that is those women with a family history of mother and sisters with breast cancer. These people should:
• practise breast self-examination monthly
• have regular checks by a specialist
• be examined by mammography if the specialist feels it is indicated.
Mammography is also useful in examining large, diffuse, lumpy breasts where it is difficult to detect lumps by means of breast self-examination. Some authorities are now advising all women over forty-five to have a mammography.