Researcher Informs College-Age Women About Breast Cancer Risk Factors

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Lifestyle factors can affect a young woman's risk of developing breast cancer.

Even though women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer at the age of 40, the disease often appears more aggressively in younger women. In an effort to reduce the number college-age women developing breast cancer, Isabelle Mercier, a researcher at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, compiled a list of lifestyle risk factors.

Weight
Weight can have an impact on your chance of developing breast cancer. According to Mercier​, up to 20 percent of cancer-associated deaths can be attributed to obesity. Fat cells provide a stable environment for tumor cells to thrive. 

Alcohol
Mercier cites research conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine that showed women who consume one alcoholic beverage a day increase their risk for breast cancer by​ 11 percent. This is because the drinks have "estrogenic activity," which is known to promote the growth of tumor cells.

Exercise
At least 2.5 hours of exercise per week can help women reduce their risk of breast cancer by 18 percent, according to Mercier. 

Tobacco
It's often advised to avoid smoking tobacco to keep your lungs clean and healthy, yet it can also affect a woman's chance of developing breast cancer. Those who pick up the habit early in life have an increased risk of developing the disease.

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