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About The Center

Stony Brook University Breast Care Center
Carol M. Baldwin
Breast Care Center
3 Edmund D. Pellegrino Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center Phone 631-638-1000
Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center Fax 631-444-6348
Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center Map & Directions Map & Directions
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Patient Information

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Risk Factors

  • Gender (Female)
  • Age
  • Western European Origin
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Previous cancer in one breast
  • Previous biopsy result
    "atypical hyperplasia"
  • Nulliparity
  • Late first full-term pregnancy
  • Early menarche (less than
    12 years old)
  • Late menopause ( > age 55)
  • Exposure to ionizing irradiation
  • High fat diet and obesity
  • Estrogen use
  • Urban environment
  • Alcohol intake

It should be emphasized that monthly breast self-examination, breast examination by a physician, and mammography at appropriate intervals as recommended by the American Cancer Society, are essential procedures for all women to follow. It is not to be interpreted as limited to only those women who are considered at high risk for breast cancer. As a matter of fact, an estimated 70 to 75 percent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no known risk factors other than their age and being female.

It is known, however, that certain women are more likely than others to develop breast cancer and these women should undergo professional breast cancer check-ups more frequently than the recommended average.

No one factor or combination of factors have been found that can be used to predict the occurrence of breast cancer in any individual; no single factor is enough to base a decision. All factors must be considered in estimating the chance that a woman may develop breast cancer.

Studies have long shown that carrying a pregnancy to full term lowers a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. Whether miscarriage or induced abortion increased a woman's risk of developing breast cancer is not as clear cut. A new large study which appeared in the January 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found the risk slight; some researchers felt this small increase might be due to participants in the study withholding information. Since we can't control most of the personal risk factors for breast cancer, the way to reduce the current mortality rate is through early detection.

Breast Cancer Warning Sings

Warning Sings

  • Lumps
  • Thickening
  • Swelling
  • Dimpling
  • Skin irritation
  • Distortion
  • Retraction
  • Scaliness
  • Pain or tenderness of the
    nipple that does not go away
  • Sunken or pulled-in nipple
  • Any fluid from either nipple

Mortality rates from breast cancer are falling in Caucasian women, but not in African-American women. Although white women are more likely to get breast cancer than African-American women, several studies seem to indicate that the breast cancer in African-American women appears more deadly.

One study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, found that in 6000 tumors examined, the tumors in the African-American women had cells that divided more actively, spreading cancer more quickly, than those of white women.

Similar findings were reported in studies conducted at the Louisiana Medical Center involving almost 1000 tumors and at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington DC where over 700 tumors were studied.

Important Note:

The Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians website is primarily an informational and educational resource. It should not be used in place of medical advice and recommendations you receive from your health care provider. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem or condition, please seek the advice of your health care provider.

Stony Brook Medicine University Physicians provides marketing advice and consultation to the clinical Faculty associated with the University Faculty Practice Corporations (UFPCs). It does not provide medical care directly or indirectly nor does it oversee, direct, manage or supervise the medical care provided by any of the individual Practices. The individual Practices are responsible for the medical care each Practice provides to its patients. Please note that the Practices listed below are separate University Faculty Practice Corporations (UFPCs).