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Congresswoman Karen Bass

Representing the 37th District of California

Breast Cancer Resources

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What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is when malignant cells which are cancerous form in breast tissue. Breast cancer is categorized as a diverse disease because there are different people, age groups, and the cells within the tumors. No one desires to receive the diagnosis of breast cancer but know that this does not mean life is over. Instead receiving this diagnosis can be the start of finding inspiration and hope, obtaining the facts and learning how to fight.

Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women. Each year it is estimated that nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. 


Controllable Risk Factors

Some things you can change to help lower your risk for getting breast cancer

  • Keep your weight at a healthy level
    • Studies have shown that being obese (which means weighing more than you should for both your age and your height) increase your risk for breast cancer.
  • Stay active
    • Do something physically active for 30 or more minutes everyday to help keep your weight at a healthy level. Try walking and gardening to stay fit.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
    • Fruits and vegetables have vitamins and minerals that can help to protect you against cancer.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
    • Studies have shown a link between drinking alcohol (any kind of alcohol - beer, wine, liquor) and breast cancer. If you do drink have no more than one drink a day or don't drink at all.
  • Don't smoke
    • Smoking increases your risk for other cancers and heart disease.One study showed that women who smoked 20 or more cigarettes a day for 40 years increased their risk for getting breast cancer to 83%!

Uncontrollable Risk Factors

Some things you can't change when it comes to your risk for getting breast cancer

  • Being a woman is the single greatest risk for developing breast cancer.
  • Getting older increases a woman's risk for breast cancer, especially women over age 50.
  • Having a history of breast cancer in your family (mother, sister, daughter.)
  • No one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. It is known that bumping, bruising or touching your breasts does not cause cancer; but, there are things you can do to change your risk of getting breast cancer.

Calculate Your Risk Factor

Common Signs and Symptoms of breast cancer are:

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast. 


Partner Organizations

Get Help


Free breast exams and mammograms to women age 40 and older. To see if you qualify for these free tests call 1-800-511-2300 Monday - Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. We speak English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese. 

Talk with a Specialist

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Cancer information specialists can answer your questions about cancer. Cancer information specialists have access to comprehensive, accurate information on a range of cancer topics, including the most recent advances in cancer treatment. They are knowledgeable, caring, and experienced at explaining medical information. The service is confidential, and information specialists spend as much time as needed for thorough and personalized responses. Click here to Get Help.

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