Breast cancer awareness month brings up many mixed emotions. We are inundated with pink all around us. Numerous people believe we should focus on other cancers just as much as we do breast cancer. I agree, breast cancer is not the only cancer that affects women, and all cancers should be vastly recognized like in the month of October.
The statistic 1 in 8 often sticks out in my memory. 1 in 8 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. I wanted to find out more about the statistics, so I headed online. I visited a few websites and they all reported the same information. My heart skipped a few beats while reading these.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide with over one million new cases each year. There will be an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnoses in the United States this year alone. In addition, there will be 60,290 non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer cases. Let’s not forget, breast cancer does not discriminate. 1 in 1,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. There will be about 2,350 invasive breast cancer cases this year in men.
Each year, about 70,000 men and women between the ages of 15 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in this age group. Women diagnosed with breast cancer in this younger age group typically have a more aggressive form. They account for approximately 25,000 cases.
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It is estimated that 5% of women have metastatic cancer when they are first diagnosed. However, with new treatments, many metastatic breast cancer patients are able to maintain a good quality of life for some time. It’s expected that 40,290 women will pass away in 2015 from their breast cancer. Death rates in breast cancer patients are higher than all other cancers, except lung cancer.
85% of breast cancer patients have no family history of the disease. But your risk doubles if you are a 1st degree relative (mother, daughter, sister) of someone who had breast cancer. Only 5-10% of all breast cancer cases have a genetic link, such as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.
What does this all mean? It means that no matter your age, or your gender, breast cancer does not discriminate. I know with my diagnosis at the age of 33, I was lucky to catch my cancer early. You need to be proactive in your breast health because early detection can save your life.