Among U.S. women in 2009, there were an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 40,170 deaths from the disease. The breast is the most common type of cancer in women, except for nonmelanoma skin cancer. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women.
- The five-year relative survival rate for localized breast cancer has increased from 72 percent in the 1940s to greater than 98 percent today. If the cancer has spread regionally, however, the rate is 86 percent, and for women with cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body, the rate is 20 percent.
- Survival after a diagnosis of breast cancer continues to decline beyond five years. Ten-year survival and beyond is also stage-dependent, with the best survival observed in women with early-stage disease.
- Well-known estrogen-related risks for developing breast cancer include: early menstruation (at age 12 or younger); late menopause (after age 55); and no full-term pregnancy or first child before age 30.
- Death rates from breast cancer continue to decline, with larger decreases in women younger than age 50. This decrease is believed to be due to improved awareness, earlier detection through screening and better treatment methods.
- About 80 percent of biopsied breast abnormalities are proven noncancerous, but any breast lump must be evaluated by a physician. New, less invasive biopsy procedures permit removal of breast tissue in a physician's or radiologist's office.
- Sometimes more than one mammogram may be necessary to evaluate an abnormality. Common reasons for additional mammograms include film views that are unclear and/or different views requested by the radiologist.
- Some mammography centers are able to provide immediate interpretation of your mammogram. This service can help prevent anxiety caused by waiting days to hear your results. Any additional films required also can be taken during the same visit.
For more information on risk factors, diagnosis and treatment options for breast cancer, visit the HealthyWomen Health Center at http://www.healthywomen.org/healthcenter/breast.
© 2013. National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved. All content provided in this guide is for information purposes only. Any information herein relating to specific medical conditions, preventive care and/or healthy lifestyles does not suggest individual diagnosis or treatment and is not a substitute for medical attention.Back to Breast Cancer Awareness Guide Home Page
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