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Women and Cancer Risk Factors
By Carolyn Bell Smith
Experts are expecting 178,000 women to be diagnosed with large-scale breast cancer and 62,000 of locally confined cancer. This is the prediction, however do not stand by and wait and see what will happen. No, all precaution must be taken seriously. Know the risk factors; some may appear uncontrollable but others are.
The very first factor of developing breast cancer is being female followed by advancing age. This type of cancer develops in seventy-five percent of women over the age of fifty.
Get to know how your breasts look and feel at a very early age giving the opportunity to notice any changes such as dimpling, skin redness, lumps, or thickening tissue. Any of these changes should be reported to your health care provider immediately. The health care provider will look for these changes clinically about every three years in your twenties and thirties and then annual mammograms after forty.
Although mammography screenings detect the disease in its early stage and reduce the mortality rate, it's not sensitive enough to detect abnormalities in dense breast tissue. For that reason, women over forty years of age with high risk of cancer and those with dense breast tissue should have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as the mammograms.
*This was recommended by the American Cancer Society in March 2007 of women with twenty to twenty-five percent or greater risk of breast cancer or ovarian and other form of cancer.
Now back to the risk factors, two have been named, sex and age. Next is family history. The risk is high if someone in your family was diagnosed with cancer before menopause or age fifty. If that someone is a mother, sister or daughter the risk doubles. But only five to ten percent of breast cancers are linked to inherited changes. These suspected inherited changes are mutations in certain genes which have been linked to breast, ovarian and colon cancers.
Find out about your family history, talk to relatives and if there is a strong family history, genetic testing may be in order. Talk to your health care provider about your family genetic make-up there could be clinical trials or other preventive methods available for high risk women. Studies have shown a fifty percent reduction in chemoprevention. Of course this involves an estrogen inhibiting drug (tamoxifen).
If breast cancer has occurred, the risk is great for reoccurring cancer in other breast tissue. Although some conditions were benign there is still a risk of breast cancer at a later time, such as atypical hyperplasia (an over growth of cells in the breast ducts), and dense breast is a factor as well.
Take charge of your health; be observant of your environment and lifestyle. Stay away from pesticides and hazardous chemicals even household products. Watch your lifestyle, diet, weight, excessive alcohol and other unhealthy habits that maybe a breast cancer risk.
Start in your early twenties and observe your body, notice any changes, read articles concerning breast cancer, know your family history, and talk to your health care provider and asking questions. Be vigilant about breast screening; if you are at high risk ask for a MRI along with your mammograms.
Carolyn Bell Smith, committed to help others improve their health, lifestyle, fight sickness, disease, and building a strong immune system. Author and creator, Healthy LifeStyle and More, and Lifestyle Tips Newsletter yourhealthrenewed