Breast Cancer statistics and facts

According to the latest Breast Cancer statistics of National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), it is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for U.S. women between the ages of 20 and 59, and the leading cause of cancer death for women worldwide.

A woman in the United States has a 1 in 7 chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her lifetime -- this risk was 1 in 11 in 1975.

Approximately 3 million women in the U.S. are living with breast cancer: 2 million who have been diagnosed and an estimated 1 million who do not yet know they have the disease.

In 2004, Breast Cancer statistics indicate that approximately 266,471 new cases of breast cancer have been diagnosed among women in the United States: 215,990 invasive breast cancers and 50,481 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Approximately 40,110 women in the U.S. will die from the disease.

Older women are much more likely to get breast cancer than younger women. Most breast cancers -- about 77% -- occur in women ages 50 and older. Less than 5% of all breast cancer cases occur in women under the age of 40.

Combining all age groups, white (non-Hispanic) women are more likely to develop breast cancer than black women.

Black women have a higher breast cancer mortality rate at every age, and a lower survival rate than white women.

The current methods of treatment in use in the United States are surgery (mastectomy and lumpectomy), radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy (including, monoclonal antibody therapy).

Mammography screening does not prevent or cure breast cancer; however, it may detect the disease before symptoms occur. Breast cancer tumors can exist for six to ten years before they grow large enough to be detected by mammography.

Breast Cancer statistics show that all women are at risk for breast cancer. About 90% of women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

Factors that increase a woman's risk of breast cancer include older age, earlier age at menarche, later age at menopause, nulliparity (having no children), later age at first full-term pregnancy, daily alcohol consumption, use of hormonal replacement therapy, use of the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), postmenopausal obesity, ionizing radiation, genetic factors and family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Factors that decrease a woman's risk of breast cancer include breast-feeding and physical activity (exercise).

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