BREAST CANCER FACT SHEET
Breast Cancer Fact Sheet
(Information courtesy of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and the Komen Foundation, National alliance of Breast Cancer Organization, 2008) Fact sheet can be updated yearly by going to www.stopbreastcancer.org; www.komen.org and www.nabco.org)
- The American Cancer Society estimates that a woman in the United States has a one in eight chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. This risk was about one in 11 in 1975.
- One of every three cancer diagnoses is in women. In 2008, it is estimated that 182,460 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States: 212,920 invasive breast cancers and 61,980 cases of in situ breast cancer (of which, 85 percent will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).1
- Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer (besides skin cancer) among women in the United States and is the leading cause of death among women aged 40 to 49.
- Approximately 11 percent of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer die from the disease within five years; at 10 years, 20 percent will have died. The most recent available statistics show that 40 percent of all women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer died from the disease within 20 years.2
- As screening programs have become more common, more cases of breast cancer are being detected in the earlier stages of disease, when they are more easily and successfully treated. Since the early 1980s, diagnoses of early-stage cancer and precancerous conditions have increased appreciably, while diagnoses of cases at the advanced stages have remained stable or dropped slightly.
- Older women are much more likely to get breast cancer than younger women. Most breast cancers – about 77 percent – occur in women ages 50 and older. About five percent of all breast cancer cases occur in women under the age of 40. However, younger women who get breast cancer have a lower survival rate than older women who get breast cancer.
- Combining all age groups, white (non-Hispanic) women are more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women. However, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.
- Between 1990 and 2004, the mortality rate for women of all races combined declined by 2.4 percent annually. In white women, breast cancer mortality declined by 2.5 percent annually. In African-American women, mortality declined by 1.4 percent annually during the same period.4
- The current methods of treatment in use in the United States are: surgery (mastectomy and lumpectomy), radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biologic ic therapy (e.g., monoclonal antibody therapy).
- Mammography screening is the best tool for detecting breast cancer at an early, treatable stage in women age 40 and older. A screening mammogram is a simple, low-dose X-ray procedure that can reveal breast cancer at an early stage, up to two years before it is large enough to be felt.
- All women are at risk for breast cancer. Of the women who develop breast cancer, 90-95% 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 first period, later age at menopause, nulliparity (never having carried a pregnancy), later age at first full-term pregnancy, daily alcohol consumption, use of hormonal replacement therapy, post-menopausal 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).
- Although scientists have discovered some risk factors for breast cancer, the known risk factors account for only a small percentage (~ 30 percent) of breast cancer cases. There are no proven interventions to prevent breast cancer and there is no cure.
1 In 2008, approximately 1.990 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men in the United States. Approximately 450 men in the U.S. will die from the disease.
2 This statistic was obtained by studying women who were diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years ago. It is impossible to know what the 20-year breast cancer survival rate will be for women diagnosed today.
3 Mortality rate is the proportion of people who die of a disease in a population at risk during a specific time period. Survival rate is the proportion of people diagnosed with a disease who live for a specific period of time. For example, a five-year cancer survival rate is the proportion of cancer patients who are still alive five years after the diagnosis of their cancer.
4 Mortality trends have only been analyzed up to 2003.
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2008. Atlanta, GA, 2006.
American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2007-2008. Atlanta, GA, 2005.
Screening Mammography. J of NCI. 2006;98:1204-1214.
iiFeuer EJ, Wun LM, Boring CC, et al. The Lifetime Risk of Developing Breast Cancer . J Natl Cancer Inst 1993 Jun 2;
85(11): 892-7.vRies LAG, Eisner MP, Kosary CL, et al. (eds). SEER Fast Stats: Breast Cancer 1994-2003 . National Cancer Institute.
Bethesda, MD, 2006.
Rockhill B, Weinberg CR, Newman B. Population attributable fraction estimation for established breast cancer risk factors: considering the issues of high prevalence and unmodifiability. Am J Epidemiol 1998;147:826-33.