Breast cancer is the second-deadliest
cancer among American women (the first is lung cancer). Early
detection with regular mammograms remains the single most effective
way for combating the disease, other than adopting a healthier
lifestyle. When detected early and before the cancer spreads, women
with breast cancer have a 98-percent survival rate. Advances in
early detection and better treatments are resulting in higher
survival rates, which have been consistently increasing since 1990.
Among women younger than 50, death rates have decreased by 3.2
percent per year, and in women 50 and older by 2 percent each year.
- In the United States, one in
eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer
during her lifetime.
- During 2010, an estimated
207,090 women and 1,970 men are expected to be diagnosed with
breast cancer in the United States.
- In 2010, breast cancer is
expected to claim the lives of 39,840 women and 390 men in the
- In Texas, breast cancer is
the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women.
- Age: Age is an important
factor affecting breast cancer risk. Approximately two-thirds
of breast cancers occur in women over age 55.
- Family History: Women with
immediate family members (grandmother, mother, or sister) who
have had breast cancer are at a greater risk of developing the
disease. If you have a family history of cancer, genetic
testing may help determine risk.
- Diet and Exercise:
Overweight and/or physically inactive women have a higher risk
of developing breast cancer.
The signs for breast cancer are not
the same for all women. In fact, some women show no signs at all. If
any of the following symptoms or signs are present, women are
encouraged to consult their physician immediately for proper
- A lump in the breast
- Change in breast size or
- Change in color of nipple or
- New pain in one spot
- Dimpled skin near the breast
- A lump under the arm
- Nipple retraction
- Nipple discharge
- Irritation on the breast,
nipple, or skin near the nipple
Breast cancer cannot be completely
prevented, but there are steps women can take to decrease their risk
and/or improve early detection of the disease.
- Self-Exams: Women should
begin monthly breast self-exams in their 20s. Any changes in
their breasts should be reported to a physician immediately.
- Clinical Breast Exams: The
American Cancer Society recommends clinical breast exams for
women in their 20s and 30s every three years, and annual
mammograms for women over 40. Mammograms can detect breast
cancer at an early, more treatable stage. Mammograms
identify 80 to 90 percent of breast cancer cases in women
with no evident symptoms.
- Regular exercise may
reduce the risk of breast cancer. Exercise lowers estrogen
and insulin levels, fights obesity, and may prevent tumors
- Limit your consumption of
alcohol. Studies show that drinking alcohol may raise the
risk of breast cancer.
- Since obesity can further
complicate breast cancer, maintain a healthy body weight
through proper nutrition.
Women with a family history of breast
cancer should discuss a hereditary cancer risk assessment with their
physicians. Even in women with known genetic changes that increase
the risk for breast cancer, there are specific steps that can be
taken to reduce that risk.
Anyone with breast cancer should
consult with a medical oncologist to determine their specific
treatment needs. Treatment options can include surgery, radiation,
chemotherapy, or hormone therapy. A combination of treatments may be
used to provide the best chance of disease control.
Sources: American Cancer Society,
National Cancer Institute, and Texas Department of State Health
301 South Polk Street, Suite 740 | Amarillo, TX 79101 |
Phone (806) 331-4710