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breast cancer in ireland

According to the most recent figures from the National Cancer Registry in Ireland, in 2013 a total of 2,983 people received a breast cancer diagnosis. (The average number of new breast cancer cases over a three year period, from 2011 to 2013, was 2,883.)

2,942 of these were women and 41 males.

The figure represents a 3% increase on 2012 figures. And a 33% increase on the total number of breast cancer cases diagnosed in 2003, when 2,238 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed (including males and females).

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in females in Ireland.

A woman has a 1 in 11 chance of developing breast cancer. A male has a 1 in 647 chance of developing this type of cancer.

The vast majority of women with breast cancer are aged between 50-64 (40%)

The number of breast cancer survivors are increasing, with over 80% of those with a breast cancer diagnosis now living 5 years and beyond.

Early detection is the key to survival. Most women (70%) with breast cancer discover a change in their breast themselves.

Being a woman

Being a woman is the main risk factor for breast cancer. Men can get breast cancer, but it is very rare.

Getting older

Your risk of breast cancer increases as you get older. Most women who get breast cancer are over the age of 50. (76% of breast cancer patients are over 50 years old).However, the disease can strike younger women too.

Having had breast cancer previously

Women who have had breast cancer have an increased risk of getting breast cancer in the other breast or in another part of the same breast.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Women on HRT are at an increased risk of breast cancer. Your risk decreases gradually after you stop taking it.

The Pill

The contraceptive pill causes a small increase in risk. This risk gradually returns to normal after you stop taking it.

Starting periods at an early age or having a late menopause

Women who have their first period before the age of 12 or who have the menopause after the age of 55 have a slightly increased risk.

Having no children

Women who have no children or who have their first child later in life have a slightly increased risk.

A strong family history of breast cancer

Women with a strong family history of breast cancer have a higher risk of getting the disease. A strong family history includes:
Breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer in several close members of the same family
Breast cancer in a close relative when under the age of 50

Be a healthy weight

Being overweight after the menopause can increase your risk of breast cancer. This is because fat cells in your body increase hormones and high levels of certain hormones in turn increase your cancer risk. Try to be a healthy weight by eating a healthy diet and being active.

Be active

Women who are physically active have a lower risk of breast cancer than less active women. Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on five or more days a week. Moderate physical activity is any movement that makes you feel warm and breathe a little deeper.

Limit alcohol

Drinking alcohol increases your risk of breast cancer. The more you cut down on alcohol, the more you can reduce your risk. Limit your risk by drinking no more than one standard drink a day.

Breastfeed your baby

Breastfeeding helps to protect mothers from breast cancer. It is best to breastfeed your baby for the first six months if possible. The longer a woman breastfeeds her baby, the more she reduces her breast cancer risk.

Don’t smoke

Some recent research suggests that smoking may increase the risk of breast cancer. It is important to note that smoking causes 30 per cent of all cancers. For advice, support and information contact the National Smoker’s Quitline, Call save 1850 201 203.

Attend screening

Attend breast cancer screening when called between the ages of 50 and 64 years.

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