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    Are You at Risk for Breast Cancer?

    Breast Cancer Facts

    Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer among women. The World Health Organization has estimated that there will be 1.2 million new breast cancer cases and 500,000 deaths from the disease will have occurred worldwide in the year 2000.

    The incidence of this disease has increased by approximately one percent per year since 1950. Between 1970 and 1990 the number of breast cancer cases nearly doubled. The reported cases of invasive breast cancer tumors have remained level since 1990, but rates for in situ tumors have continued to rise.

    The figures for 2000 have not been released yet, but it is estimated that 175,000 American women were diagnosed with breast cancer. The 1999 figure for expected deaths from breast cancer in the United States is 43,400 women.

    The average American woman has a 1 in 9 lifetime chance of getting breast cancer and a 1 in 29 lifetime chance of dying from this disease.

    More Americans were lost to breast cancer in the last 20 years than in all the wars of the twenthieth century.

    Breast cancer is a family disease

    Of the cases diagnosed, 40 percent of the women are under 60. These are women with parents, husbands and often children at home. Having a child, parent, wife, relative or close friend with breast cancer affects everyone. The battle against the illness is waged by you and your loved ones.

    Men are also at risk

    They are usually diagnosed later, because breast cancer is a "women's" disease. Logically, breast cancer is no more embarassing than lung cancer, but that is usually a man's first reaction. This often causes delays in treatment. The more advanced the cancer is, the more difficult it is to treat effectively. In 1998 there were 1,000 American men diagnosed with breast cancer. The estimate figure for 1999 is 1,300 men were diagnosed and 400 died from breast cancer.

    Can Breast Cancer Be Prevented?

    There is no way to predict who will get breast cancer. It's like trying to predict who will get hit by a car.

    • In 1950 the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer was 1 in 20.
    • The current odds for an American women are 1 in 9 that she will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
    • The incidence of breast cancer increases with age.
    • The risk for developing breast cancer exists whether or not there is a family history of the disease.
    • Only 10% of the diagnosed cases were linked to a family history of breast cancer.

    More than half of all cases of breast cancer in the United States can be attributed to a few well-known risk factors. Knowing these and taking steps to reduce your risk may help you to prevent this disease.

    Some Of The Risk Factors Are Out Of Your Control

    Your age, a family history of the disease, early onset of menstruation, and a history of previous benign breast biopsies are some factors that there just isn't much you can do to change. But even if you fall into the part of the population that has these risk factors, there are still steps you can take to minimize your chance of developing breast cancer.

    You Can Reduce Some Risk Factors
    There are life style changes that we do know increase the chance that you will remain cancer free, but there are no guarantees. Some people who do everything wrong never get breast cancer and others who are extremely careful will develop this disease. There are even rare cases of women who have had both breasts removed to prevent cancer and still develop a tumor.


    Are You ar Risk for Breast Cancer - Page 2

    October 16, 2000

    Last updated May 1, 2006



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