About Mercy

Breast Cancer Symptoms and Risks


  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • Nipple tenderness
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • The nipple is turned inward into the breast
  • Nipple discharge

Risk Factors

  • Age – breast cancer is uncommon before age 40 and most common after age 60
  • Family history of breast cancer in a mother, sister or daughter, especially if it occurred before age 40
  • Early age of onset of menstrual periods (before age 12)
  • Late age of onset for menopause (after age 55)
  • The older the age a woman has her first child, the higher her risk of breast cancer
  • The use of hormone replacement therapy (estrogens)


  • One in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in her lifetime
  • 62% of Iowa women over the age of 40 have had a mammogram in the last year


  • Women in their 40’s should have mammograms every one to two years
  • Women over age 50 should have mammograms every year


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1111 6th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

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