Breast cancer awareness – thanks in large part to the people at Susan G. Komen for the Cure - has grown quite a bit in the past few years. But just in case you thought it was all about jogging and wearing pink ribbons, here are the sobering statistics:
According to the CDC (the most recent year numbers available are from 2008):
- 210,203 women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer.
- 40,589 women in the United States died from breast cancer.
And from The American Cancer Society (The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are for 2012):
- About 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
- About 63,300 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
- About 39,510 women will die from breast cancer. As cis-woman focused as those statistics seem to be, it’s important to remember it’s not only the cisgender or female-bodied that are at risk for breast cancer.
From The National Institute of Health: Male breast cancer is rare. It happens most often to men between the ages of 60 and 70. Risk factors for male breast cancer include exposure to radiation, a family history of breast cancer and having high estrogen levels, which can occur with disease like cirrhosis or Klinefelter’s syndrome. Risk factors may vary, but in truth anyone can get breast cancer regardless of sex or gender.
It’s also important to point out that there are racial disparities among breast cancer sufferers, with black women experiencing higher breast cancer mortality rates despite lower incidence rate. The reasons behind racial disparities are not yet clear and may be due to economic status, co-morbidities, distribution of tumor sub-types, responses to treatment, and other factors.
There is no distinct cause of or cure for breast cancer, so early detection is key in fighting it. Current screening guidelines recommend a self-breast exam every month, a clinical breast exam every 3 years, and a mammogram yearly after you turn 40. You may need different diagnostic testing at other times, dependent upon your family history and results of your clinical breast exams.
Here’s some helpful links for more information and things you can do:
Not sure how to do your breast self exam? Komen.org has got some good instructions.
Already have breast cancer, or know someone who does? Cancer Care has social workers, support groups, and information about securing financial assistance.
Want to help someone out? You can donate here to help low-income women get mammograms, or get help starting your own fundraiser.