The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to ending breast cancer through action and advocacy. NBCC members are committed to reaching this difficult goal. Following are some statistics that speak to the need to end this deadly disease:
- The National Cancer Institute estimates that a woman in the United States has a 1 in 8 chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. This risk was about 1 in 11 in 1975.
- More women in the United States are living with breast cancer than any other cancer (excluding skin cancer). Approximately 3 million women in the U.S. are living with breast cancer: about 2.3 million have been diagnosed with the disease and an estimated 1 million do not yet know they have the disease.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the United States and worldwide (excluding skin cancer). In 2007, it is estimated that 240,510 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States: 178,480 invasive breast cancers and 62,030 cases of in situ breast cancer (of which, 85% will be ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)).1
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S, after lung cancer. Approximately 40,460 women in the U.S. will die from the disease in 2007. 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.
- Approximately 11% of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer die from the disease within five years; at ten years, 20% will have died. The most recent available statistics show that 40% of all women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer died from the disease within 20 years.2
- Older women are much more likely to get breast cancer than younger women. Most breast cancers (about 80%) occur in women ages 50 and older. About 5% 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 black women. However, black women are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.
- Black women have a higher breast cancer mortality rate at every age, and a lower survival rate than white women.3 The five-year survival rate for white women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer is 90% while the five-year survival rate for black women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer is only 77%.
- Between 1994 and 2003, the mortality rate for women of all races combined declined by 2.4% annually. In white women, breast cancer mortality declined by 2.5% annually. In black women, mortality declined by 1.4% annually during the same period.4
- Mortality has declined faster for women under the age of 50 (by 3.3% annually), regardless of race/ethnicity.
- The current methods of treatment in use in the United States are surgery (mastectomy and lumpectomy), radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and biologic therapy (e.g. 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.
- Mammography is less effective in younger women. In the overall population, digital mammography does not perform better than traditional film mammography. However, among younger women, digital mammography has been reported to detect more breast cancers than film mammography. There are no studies to establish whether screening with digital mammography decreases breast cancer mortality.
- All women are at risk for breast cancer. Only 5-10% have inherited a mutation in the known breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2).
- Factors that increase a woman's risk of breast cancer include older age, genetic factors, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, long menstrual history, nulliparity (having no children), older than 30 years of age at first full-term pregnancy, daily alcohol consumption, use of combined postmenopausal hormone therapy (PHT), postmenopausal obesity, and ionizing radiation. Factors that decrease a woman's risk of breast cancer include breast-feeding and physical activity (exercise).
- Recently, higher breast density has been show to be strongly associated with the risk of breast cancer. It was found that breast cancer rate was almost four times greater in those with extremely dense breast tissue as opposed to those with fatty breast tissue. It is important to remember that since mammography is less sensitive in detecting breast cancer for dense breasts, the effect of breast density may be somewhat underestimated.
- Although scientists have discovered some risk factors for breast cancer, the known risk factors account for only a small percentage (~30%) of breast cancer cases. There are few interventions with limited value that reduce risk, and none of them prevent breast cancer.
Just in case ... sources & info are included. Still SOOOooo many myths out there check out www.nbcam.com as well for lots of great info .
2This 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.
3Mortality 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 5 years after the diagnosis of their cancer.
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2007. Atlanta, GA, 2007.
American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2005-2006. Atlanta, GA, 2005.
Barlow WE, White E, Ballard-Barbash R, et al. Prospective Breast Cancer Risk Prediction Model for Women Undergoing Screening Mammography. J of NCI. 2006;98:1204-1214.
Feuer 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.
National Cancer Institute. Probability of breast cancer in American women. Updated October 2006. Fact Sheet 5.6.
Pisano ED, Gatsonis C, Hendrick E, et al. Diagnostic performance of digital versus film mammography for breast-cancer screening. New Engl J Med 2005 Oct 27; 353(17): 1773-83.
Ries LAG, Harkins D, Krapcho M, et al. (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2003. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, 2006.
Ries LAG, Eisner MP, Kosary CL, et al. (eds). SEER Fast Stats: Breast Cancer 1994-2003. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, 2006.
Russell M. Ezilon Infobase. Breast Cancer: Facts and Figures. 2006.