Question: As a 50-year-old woman, should I be more concerned about heart disease or breast cancer?
Answer: All middle-aged women should be concerned about the risk for both heart disease and cancer. And it's really important to recognize that many of the risk factors for cancer are similar to the risk factors for heart disease. So we want to be sure that we're all engaged in a really healthy lifestyle to reduce our risk for both heart disease and cancer.
It is a fact, though, that breast cancer is more common than heart disease in the younger age groups of women, and this tends to reverse itself as women get older -- especially after the age of 50. So when we look across a woman's life span, the most common condition for her to die of is coronary heart disease.