Breast Cancer is a disease found in both men and women, and is becoming more common every day. The biggest problem with breast cancer, is that there is no current way of preventing it to occur in the body and that there is no cure.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, excluding cancers of the skin. More than 2 million women are living with the disease. In 2006, breast cancer will account for nearly one out of every three cancer diagnoses in women.
An estimated 212,920 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2006. This number does not include cases of carcinoma in situ. An estimated 61,980 new cases of breast carcinoma in situ will be diagnosed in 2006. Of these, 85% will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
If every woman lived to age 85, one out of seven women in the United States would develop breast cancer by that timeâ€”a â€œlifetimeâ€ risk that was one out of 14 in 1980. A new breast cancer case is diagnosed every 1.9 minutes.
Men develop breast cancer, too, although they account for less than 1% of cases. In 2006 an estimated 1,720 cases were diagnosed among men.
Risk increases with age. The chance of a woman under the age of 30 developing breast cancer is 1 in 1,985. From ages 30-39, a womanâ€™s chance of developing breast cancer is 1 in 229, from ages 40-49 it is 1 in 68, from ages 50-59 it is 1 in 37, from ages 60-69 it is 1 in 26 and from ages 70-79 it is 1 in 24.
Every woman is at risk for breast cancer. More than 50% of breast cancers occur in women who have no identifiable risk factors other than age. Only 5 to 10% of breast cancers are linked to inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes.
Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer. They detect tumors, but can miss more than a 1/4 of all breast cancers. Additionally, mammograms can cause â€œfalse positiveâ€ results when a mammogram finds something in the breast that, on biopsy, proves not to be cancer. As many as 3/4 of all post-mammogram biopsy results turn out to be benign lesions.
Mammography may not be effective in detecting breast cancer for women who are pre-menopausal. Although 50 is often used as the estimated age for women to begin menopause, it is not an accurate indicator of menopausal status. Because the breast tissue of pre-menopausal women tends to be denser than that of post-menopausal women, mammograms of younger women may be more difficult to read.
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