Breast Cancer Will Likely Touch You Or Someone You Know

Worldwide, it is estimated that every minute a woman dies from breast cancer. Women fear breast cancer more than any other disease. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, after lung cancer. Breast cancer also affects about 2,500 men each year.

Who Is at Risk?

Being a woman is the biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer. Breast cancer in the United States is the most common cancer in women, no matter the race or ethnicity. Most women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease or other known risk factors. Breast cancer can occur at any age, but it becomes more frequent as a woman gets older. A woman’s risk for breast cancer is higher if she has a mother, sister, or daughter (first-degree relative) or multiple family members on either her mother’s or father’s side of the family who have had breast cancer. Having a first-degree male relative with breast cancer also raises a woman’s risk. Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12%.

The Good News Is...

The earlier that breast cancer is detected the better in the outcome. At this time there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, which includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment. In recent years, incidence rates have been stable in white women and increasing slightly (by 0.3% per year) African American women. Death rates from female breast cancer dropped 39% from 1989 to 2015.