Women's Health: How Worried Should You Be About Cancer?

In our recent joint survey with Bing of more than 1,000 women, 71 percent of you told us cancer is a concern. But in general, Julie Silver, M.D., an associate professor at Harvard Medical School says you generally don't need to be overly worried.

Here's a reassuring stat for women in their 20s and 30s: Your risk for cancer is very low—less than one percent for even the most common types. That said, everyone's personal odds are different and creep up with age, and the disease is triggered by multiple factors, including things we don't yet know very much about.

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But what we do know is that how you choose to eat, exercise and live can help make your body inhospitable to many types of cancer cells, Dr. Silver says.

On that front, a little concern may actually be good for you—if you let it motivate you to make lifestyle changes that help shut down the Big C. Just don't let that worry get to the point of feeling like cancer is inevitable and stop you from taking steps that will lower your risk.

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Click here to download SELF's chart to dial down your fear.

Sources: SEER, Cancer Statistics Review, National Cancer Institute; American Cancer Society; UC–San Diego School of Medicine; University of Minnesota; Parveen Bhatti, Ph.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; British Journal of Cancer; National Institutes of Health; CDC; Molly A. Brewer, M.D., University of Connecticut Health Center; The Skin Cancer Foundation; American Academy of Dermatology; Mayo Clinic; Richard Roetzheim, M.D., Moffitt Cancer Center; Norman H. Edelman, M.D., American Lung Association; EPA, Lung Cancer

More: Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk: What You Need to Know

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SELF Editors

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.
SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

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