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Breast Cancer: What you don’t know can kill you

What causes breast cancer? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most believe genes and age are risk factors for cancer, but there are some other lesser-known factors.

And not knowing these risks can increase your chance of getting it.

Did you know after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the second most important way to reduce cancer risk? According to the CDC, cancers associated with overweight and obesity account for 40% of diagnosed cancers.

Alcohol consumption is another risk factor. Women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of developing breast cancer.

A rash can even mean breast cancer.

“Having redness or a rash can be a sign of breast cancer, actually a sign of really aggressive breast cancer that shows up really quickly and then metastasizes and results in death really quickly,” said Dr. Svasti Haricharan, an assistant professor at the Department of Tumor Microenvironment and Cancer Immunology at Sanford Burnham Prebys.

And just because you don’t have a family history of breast cancer does not mean your risk is eliminated. Only 5% to 10% of people diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history.

Breast cancer does not only target women. Every year nearly 3,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer and 500 die.