Breast Cancer Awareness: What Everyone Should Know

Breast cancer is the most common occurring cancer among women worldwide and the second-most common cancer overall. In 2016, an estimated 246,660 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. alone. No matter who you are or where you live, breast cancer is bound to cross your path in some way, shape, or form. Below are several facts to get you “in the know” about breast cancer. The most important thing to know is this: a diagnosis is not a death sentence. Breast cancer is treatable.

Here are facts everyone should know surrounding Breast Cancer:

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women, 12% of all females, will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2016, an estimated 246,660 new cases of diagnosed invasive breast cancer are expected, along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer (also known as carcinoma in situ).
  • About 40,450 women are expected to die in 2016 from breast cancer. It is important to note there has been a decrease in death rates since 1989, with the majority of decreases in women under 50. This is believed to be the result of treatment advancements, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
  • Besides lung cancer, breast cancer death rates are higher than death rates for any other type of cancer in the U.S..
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women aside from skin cancer. In 2016, it’s estimated that fewer than 30% of cancers diagnosed in women will be breast cancer.
  • In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower.
  • As of June 2016, there were more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This figure includes women currently receiving treatment and women finished with treatment.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Less than 15% of women with breast cancer have a family member who has been diagnosed with it.
  • About 5-10% of breast cancers are thought to be inherited gene mutations (abnormal changes passed through families).
  • Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. Women with a BRCA1 mutation have, on average, a 55-65% risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetimes. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the lifetime risk is 45%. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations.
  • The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are being of female gender and increase of age.


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