Hello and Welcome to the Helen Knoll Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer in young women.

Our mission is to prevent breast cancer by empowering young women through risk awareness education, advocacy and access to age appropriate screenings.

Offering free or low cost cancer screening options
Lifestyle decisions affect 60-70% of their future risk.
Changing ONLY one lifestyle decision can reduce the risk by 50%
Screenings are important for women 18-40, expecially those with dense breast tissue

Family history of Breast Cancer

If you one first-degree female relative (sister, mother, daughter) diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk is doubled. If two first-degree relatives have been diagnosed, your risk is 5 times higher than average.

In general, the younger the relative was when she was diagnosed, the greater a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer.

A woman whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40 has about twice the risk of a woman without a family history.

Breast density

Women with high breast density are four to five times more likely to get breast cancer than women with low breast density. Dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue compared to breasts that aren’t dense. Dense breasts have more gland tissue that makes and drains milk and supportive tissue (also called stroma) that surrounds the gland.

Breast density can be inherited, so if your mother has dense breasts, it’s likely you will, too. Dense breasts have more gland tissue that makes and drains milk and supportive tissue ( also called stroma ) that surrounds the gland. Breast density can be inherited, so if your mother has dense breasts, it’s likely you will, too.

Age of first menstrual period

Women who started menstruating (having periods) younger than age 12 have a higher risk of breast cancer later in life. Over the past 15 years, girls have been starting puberty at younger ages. Breast development has started even earlier than menstrual periods. This unexpected shift has been attributed to the obesity epidemic and broad exposure to hormone disruptors, since a rise in hormones triggers the onset of breast development and puberty.

The levels of the female hormone estrogen change with the menstrual cycle. Women who start menstruating at a very young age have a slight increase in breast cancer risk that may be linked to their longer lifetime exposure to estrogen

Lifestyle changes to help minimize the risk

Current or recent use of birth control pills

Current or recent use of birth control pills (oral contraceptives) slightly increases the risk of breast cancer. Studies show that while women are taking birth control pills (and shortly thereafter), they have a 20 to 30 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women who have never used the pill.

Eating healthy food

Diet is thought to be partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers. No food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer. But some foods can make your body the healthiest it can be, boost your immune system, and help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible. A diet can promote anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory conditions in the health of the subject. Breast cancer is less common in countries where the typical diet is plant-based

Physical activity

Women who get regular exercise (physical activity) may have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who are inactive. Regular exercise can help lower the risk of breast cancer in a number of ways. It helps us manage our weight by burning more calories, limiting food cravings, and improving self-image. Exercise also helps regulate hormone and blood sugar levels that can trigger extra cell activity. Fat cells make estrogen and extra fat cells make extra estrogen. When breast cells are exposed to extra estrogen over time, the risk of developing breast cancer is higher.

Overweight and/or obese

Overweight and obese women — defined as having a BMI (body mass index) over 25 — have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight also can increase the risk of the breast cancer coming back (recurrence) in women who have had the disease. This higher risk is because fat cells make estrogen; extra fat cells mean more estrogen in the body, and estrogen can make hormone-receptor- positive breast cancers develop and grow.

History of Smoking

Although findings on a possible link to breast cancer remain mixed, there is growing evidence that smoking may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. Some studies show that smoking long-term, starting early in life, especially before a first pregnancy, may increase risk later in life. Smoking causes double trouble both by causing cell damage and by impairing the healing process. Unhealthy, cancer-causing chemicals from smoke go to all parts of the body. Blood vessels are narrowed, blood flow is reduced, toxins build up in tissues, and cell damage occurs. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers, but its effect on breast cancer is still under study.

Know your vitamin D3 level

Research suggests that women with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of breast cancer. Vitamin D may play a role in controlling normal breast cell growth and may be able to stop breast cancer cells from growing. In 2009, a pre-menopausal population of breast cancer patients where researchers compared their vitamin D levels to matched controls. Once again comparing the groups with the lowest and highest levels of vitamin D there was almost a 60% reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

Alcoholic drinks per day

Research found that for each alcoholic drink consumed per day, the relative risk of breast cancer increased by about seven percent. Women who had two to three alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day. Teen and tween girls aged 9 to 15 who drink three to five drinks a week have three times the risk of developing benign breast lumps. Alcohol use by women has increased. More women drink, and greater amounts of alcohol are consumed. Over 14% of American women drink moderately (an average of 3-7 drinks a week) or heavily (an average of more than 7 drinks a week). Alcohol can both interfere with the breakdown of estrogen and increase the production of estrogen. It can also make the estrogen receptors inside breast cells more sensitive to estrogen. Longer and greater alcohol use in women produces more harmful effects, leading to a higher risk of breast cancer. Estrogen levels are higher in women who drink alcohol than in non-drinkers. These higher estrogen levels may in turn, increase the risk of breast cancer.

Stop Breast Cancer Before it Starts

Prevention & Education are your Biggest Allies!

Announcing our New Breast Cancer Assessment!

HKF is partnering with SDSU graduate school of Public Health to attempt to quantify prevention with an assessment that provides a baseline of breast health.

Participate in an interactive assessment

Click Here for Details

College Outreach Universities