Basic Breast Cancer Facts
Definition of Breast Cancer
- Type of cancer where cells in the breast tissue divide and grow without normal control. Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S.
Just because other family members have had breast cancer doesn't mean that their disease was inherited. In the U.S., only about 5 to 10 percent of all breast cancers occur because of inherited mutations. ALLwomen are at risk for breast cancer. The two most important risk factors are:
- Being female
- Getting older - most breast cancers and breast cancer deaths occur in women aged 50 and older
- Five percent of all breast cancers occur in women under age 40
- Certain genetic factors can put some women at a higher risk of breast cancer Women diagnosed at younger ages may have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation and have an increased risk of both breast and ovarian cancers
Male Breast Cancer in the United States - Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. In 2012, it is estimated that among U.S. men there will be:
- 2,190 new cases of breast cancer
- 410 breast cancer deaths
- Cells can grow out of control before symptoms appear. That is why screening to find changes is so important. If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and improved chance for survival. It is recommended that women 40 years and older have a mammogram every year.
- If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, talk with your Doctor about your risk. If your mother or sister had breast cancer before menopause, you may need to start getting mammograms or other tests and yearly clinical breast exams before age 40.
- It is important for all women to have clinical breast exams at least every three years starting at age 20 and every year after age 40.
Questions to Ask the Doctor PDF Downloads
The Questions to Ask the Doctor About Breast Cancer series includes 14 topic cards on a variety of breast cancer issues. Each card contains pertinent questions to discuss with your doctor regarding a specific breast cancer topic. You can download and print the cards and bring them with you to your next doctor's appointment.
*Above information courtesy Susan G. Komen for the Cure website
Jan 14, 2015