Any woman who has had cancer in one of her breasts is at risk for developing cancer in the second breast.

A new study suggests drinking alcohol may increase this risk of breast cancer by 30 percent.

The longer the women in the study had been users of alcohol, the more likely they were to develop cancer in the second breast.

There are may factors that influence the risk of breast cancer that are beyond women’s control, including gender, age, genetic risk factors, density of breast tissue, onset of menses, late menopause, and family and personal history of breast cancer.alcohol1

African American women are at greater risk for dying from breast cancer, although more cases of breast cancer occur in white women. Risk factors for breast cancer that women can control are breastfeeding their children, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and now, keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum.

The standard screening test for breast cancer is a mammogram. A woman should have her first mammogram procedure at the age of 40 unless there are risk factors that indicate beginning screening earlier. Women with a family history of breast cancer may wish to consider genetic screening as well.