Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman’s death is about 1 in 36 (about 3%), however death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.
Some Key Statistics:
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer amongst American women
- About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
- Estimated yearly cost for breast cancer is around $16.5 Billion
- Not including skin cancers, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer amongst women in the U.S. About 28% of cancers in women are breast cancer, that is more than 1in 4!
- From 1999 to 2005, breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. decreased by about 2% per year. The decrease was seen only in women aged 50 and older.
- Breast cancer death rate is down by nearly 33% the death rates have been decreasing since 1990 — especially in women under 50
- Amongst women living in the United States, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- Now on an average decline of roughly 1.7% per year
Breast Cancer Incidence broken down by state:
- States with highest Incidence of Breast Cancer: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
- States with Lowest Incidence of Breast Cancer: Arizona, Arkansas, Utah, New Mexico
Estimates for 2012:
- 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women
- 63,300 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
- About 39,510 women will die from breast cancer
- Less than 1% of new breast cancer cases are diagnosed in men
- There are nearly 3 million breast cancer survivors living in the US (this number includes those who are still undergoing treatment and those who have completed treatment)
Notable Breast Cancer Organizations:
National Breast Cancer Coalition
Young Survival Coalition
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Living Beyond Breast Cancer
National Breast Cancer Foundation
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
American Breast Cancer Foundation
Breast Cancer Network of Strength
The Breast Cancer Fund
Breast Cancer Campaign
Popular Breast Cancer Events & Fundraisers:
History of Breast Cancer:
First recording of cancer comes from ancient Egypt and is dated back to approximately 1600 BC. From what we have been able to determine, breast cancer may be one of the oldest forms of cancerous tumors known to man.
- In what has become known as the Edwin Smith Papyrus, there are 8 cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast that are described in some detail. According to the writing, they had attempted to treat these tumors by cauterization, but they were not successful. It described the disease as untreatable.
- Over the centuries, physicians have recounted similar cases from their practice, and all resulted in the same conclusion.
- During the 17th century, doctors gain more understanding of the human circulatory system
- Are then able to establish a link between breast cancer and lymph nodes in the armpit
- French surgeon Jean Louis Petit (1674-1750) first to remove breast tissue, lymph nodes, and underlying chest muscle
- William Stewart Halsted performed first mastectomies in 1882
- Halsted performed radical mastectomies, which remained the standard until the 1970’s
- During the 70’s, with realization that breast cancer as systemic illness as well as localized one, led to more sparing procedures which proved just as effective
- First Breast Cancer clinical study conducted by Janet Lane-Claypon in 1926. Comparative study of 500 breast cancer cases for British Ministry of Health
Prominent Women who beat Breast Cancer
Suzanne Somers: Even wrote a book about her 2000 battle with breast cancer
Sandra Day O’Connor: Former Supreme Court Justice and breast cancer survivor
Nancy Reagan: Former First Lady and breast cancer survivor
Nancy Brinker: founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Janelle Hail: Founder of National Breast Cancer Foundation
Sheryl Crow: Grammy Winner and Breast Cancer Survivor
Types of Breast Cancer
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS): Most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. Cancer cells are located inside the ducts, but haven’t spread through the walls of the ducts into the surrounding breast tissue. Nearly 1 out of every 5 new cases is DCIS. Survival rate very high when caught at an early stage.
Invasive (or infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma (IDC): Most common type of breast cancer. IDC begins in the milk dust of the breast, spreads through the duct wall, and grows into the fatty tissue of the breast. Once that happens, it can metastasize to other areas of the body through the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Nearly 8 of 10 invasive breast cancers are IDC.
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC): Begins in the milk-producing glands of the breast. Capable of metastasizing to other parts of the body like IDC. Only 1 of every 10 invasive breast cancers is ILC. Can be harder to detect with a mammogram than IDC.
Less Common Forms of Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC): Makes up only about 1 to 3% of all breast cancer cases. Usually produces on lump or tumor.
Triple-negative breast cancers: Breast cancer cells lack estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors, no excess HER2 protein.
Paget Disease of the Nipple: Originates in breast ducts and spreads areola. Accounts for 1% of all cases of breast cancer.
Phyllodes Tumor: Very rare form of breast tumor which develops in the connective tissue of the breast.
Angiosarcoma: This type of cancer starts in cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels. Only on rare occasion does it occur in the breasts.
Common Symptoms or Signs of Breast Cancer:
- A lump
- Skin Inflammation
- Unexplained weight loss
Importance of Breast Cancer Screenings, Mammography, and Self-Exams
Women need to be aware of the importance of checking their breasts for cancer before there are any signs of cancer, this is why breast cancer screening is so important.
Regular breast cancer screenings still remains the best way to lower your risk of dying from breast cancer. These screenings help find the disease at an earlier stage when it is more treatable.
Women are advised to be screened for breast cancer once a year starting at age 40.
Interested in making a donation?
Imagine a world where women would not have to worry if they were going to be one of close to 230,000 new cases diagnosed that year?
Donations are used to fund breast cancer research, screening, treatment, and education.