Breast Cancer FAQs – ChesPenn Health Services

Breast Cancer FAQs

Every October, pink ribbons appear all around us – on social media, in the news, even on food items. Breast Cancer Awareness Month will be on many minds this month, so it’s a great time to answer some common questions about what may put you at risk and what may help protect you:


Does Smoking Cause Breast Cancer?
Smoking has been shown to increase the risk for many forms of cancer, including breast cancer. Not only that, but secondhand smoke also increases risk. ChesPenn offers smoking cessation support so this is a great time to speak to your provider if you smoke.

Does alcohol consumption raise my cancer risk?

One drink per day has been shown to slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. Having more than one drink per day has shown to be a more significant risk factor, and the alcohol content doesn’t matter: wine, beer or a mixed drink. Alcohol also increases estrogen in your bloodstream. One glass of red wine a day may have heart health benefits. Most important – discuss your alcohol consumption with your healthcare provider.

Is there a link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer?

There is an increased risk for women using oral contraceptives for more than 5 years. However, because of the low concentration of hormones in today’s contraceptives the risk is minimal, unless you have a family history of breast cancer. As always, communication with your healthcare provider is key.

Is there a link between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and breast cancer?

Yes. HRT is not recommended for most menopausal women. Your provider can discuss alternative approaches to managing symptoms.

Does my diet affect my risk of breast cancer?

A healthy, low-fat diet (less than 30 grams/day) can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Fat triggers estrogen production, which can raise the risk for breast cancer.

Can exercise reduce my breast cancer risk?
Healthy activity strengthens the immune system. Just 30 minutes/day can lower the risk of contracting breast cancer.
Should I perform regular breast self-exams?
According to the American Cancer Society, Most often when breast cancer is detected because of symptoms (such as a lump in the breast), a woman discovers the symptom during usual activities such as bathing or dressing. Women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any changes to a health care provider right away.
When should I get a mammogram?
 Women at high risk for breast cancer should follow their care provider’s recommendations regarding the timing of mammograms.
Women between 40 and 44 at average risk for breast cancer have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.
Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms.
Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live at least 10 more years.
If you put off getting your mammogram during the pandemic, NOW is the time to catch up!
For more information, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation (


Center for Family Health at Eastside
125 E. 9th Street
Chester PA, 19013
Medical Phone: 610-872-6131
Dental Phone: 610-874-6231

Center for Family Health at Coatesville
744 East Lincoln Highway
Suite 110
Coatesville, PA 19320
Phone: 610-380-4660

Center for Family Health at Upper Darby
5 South State Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082
Phone: 610-352-6585


1510 Chester Pike,
Suite 200
Eddystone, PA 19022

Phone: 610-485-3800
Fax: 610-485-4221
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