Today we are here to discuss information and statistics surrounding one of the most common cancers currently in America. Breast cancer is defined as the formation of malignant tumors that are created in the cells of the breast. Malignant tumors can grow and spread to surrounding tissues and other areas of the body. This disease almost occurs exclusively in women but in some rare cases men have been diagnosed with it as well. The American Cancer Society projects that in the year 2015 an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. Out of those women who are diagnosed, a projected 40,290 women will die from this form of cancer. Both of these are extremely alarming statistics that we must work on reducing in the future. Another surprising statistic is that about 1 in 8 (12%) of all women in the US will develop invasive cancer of the breast at some point throughout their lifetime. Statistics show that breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women and is only behind skin cancer. Death rates have been in the decline since about 1989 thanks in large part to the results of early detection screenings and the increase in public awareness surrounding the disease. Currently, the United States boasts over 2.8 million survivors of this deadly disease.
Survival rates for breast cancer greatly determine on the stage your cancer is in when it is detected. Stage is a reference used to describe the amount of area that your cancer has spread throughout your body, the size of the tumor, and whether or not your cancer is invasive. This is the one of the most important factors in determining prognosis and treatment options.
In order to evaluate for changes in the breast many doctors recommended that women undergo a mammogram exam. Women should undergo a mammogram on an annual basis so that doctors can look for lumps, calcifications, and to measure breast density to determine if any tumors could have formed inside the tissue of the breast.
All women should be aware of the risk factors surrounding breast cancer to know if they are at an increased risk for breast cancer diagnosis. Many risk factors for breast cancer are often not related to personal choice and include gender, age, race or ethnicity, genetic risk factors, and family history of breast cancer. On the other hand, there are also multiple lifestyle-related factors that contribute to an increase in risk for breast cancer. These factors include having children, birth control, and breastfeeding, drinking alcohol, obesity, and not undergoing enough physical activity. For the most part, one or two of these lifestyle factors are not a big deal but if you fall under multiple categories your risk for breast cancer is significantly increased.
Simply put, breast cancer is a disease that continues to ruin lives and tear families apart. It cannot be stated enough how important it is to undergo the proper examinations on a regular basis to ensure you cancer will be detected in an early stage so that your chances for survival will be as high as possible. Cancer Society’s online communities offer support by connecting you with patients, survivors, and cancer experts to help you cope with you or your loved ones cancer diagnosis.