October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it's as good a time as ever to find out your risk of developing breast cancer. Bright Pink, a nonprofit focused on educating young women about detecting breast and ovarian cancer early, recently rolled out the third iteration of its popular Assess Your Risk test, a short online quiz aimed at helping women calculate their risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women ages 40 and older get mammograms at least once per year, but that leaves younger women vulnerable. Fortunately, researchers know that certain factors — like having family history, having dense breasts, age of first menstruation, and any personal experiences with endometriosis or other cancers — increase your chances of developing breast or ovarian cancer. Using a tool like the Assess Your Risk test forces you to sit down and take a closer look at your health history to determine whether any of those aforementioned factors puts you at risk.
To take the Assess Your Risk quiz, visit www.assessyourrisk.org, and answer a series of questions. One useful feature of Bright Pink's questionnaire is that you can download your emailed results once you've finished, and the file will come with recommendations you can actually act on today to potentially reduce your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in women, according to National Cancer Institute. In 2017, it killed more than 40,000 women, per the latest numbers from the ACS. As for ovarian cancer, it ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, the ACS reports. It's estimated that more than 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2018, and more than 14,000 of them will die from it.
Until researchers find the cure for cancer, tools for early detection of cancers are a crucial piece of the puzzle. If you know that certain personal characteristics predispose you to cancer, you can take steps to diminish your risk that the cancer actually develops. And through early detection and screening, you can catch cancers before they spread.