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How to Fight Breast Cancer at Any Age

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Your age can predict your risk of breast cancer and the severity of the disease, research shows. But every woman has the power to outwit her biological clock. Meet three survivors who learned how to protect themselves -- and learn how you can, too.

What's Age Got to Do with It?

One of the most important breast cancer risk factors -- in addition to being female, overweight, or having a family history of the disease -- is your age, a mounting body of research shows. "What we're seeing is that women who are 35 years old or younger do worse with their breast cancer than older women," says Jennifer Litton, MD, a medical oncologist at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. When breast cancer strikes younger women, it tends to be more aggressive and less responsive to treatment, according to a new study from Duke University. On the other hand, statistics from the American Cancer Society show that once a woman turns 40, her chance of developing the disease increases nearly tenfold. Changing your age is improbable (okay, it's flat-out impossible). But making healthy lifestyle choices is completely within your control. Meet three athletic women blindsided by breast cancer diagnoses who reveal the steps they took to fight back against the illness. Plus, find out how you can prevent it from occurring in the first place.

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