Breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer deaths in American women. Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells in the breast. Breast cancer begins in breast tissue, which is made up of glands for milk production and the ducts that connect the glands to the nipple. Although breast cancer is more common in women, it can also occur in men. Early detection of breast cancer is important because treatment success is much greater when the cancer is caught in the early stages
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The American Cancer Society recommends the following screening for early detection of breast cancer in average risk women:
- Ages 20-39 should have a clinical breast examination every three years.
- Ages 40 and older should have an annual mammogram, an annual clinical breast examination.
Breast cancer incidence and mortality rates vary among different ethnic groups and age groups:
- White (non-Hispanic) women have the highest incidence of breast cancer in the United States.
- African American women younger than 35 have a higher incidence than Caucasian women in this age group.
Women who have a higher risk of breast cancer include the following:
- Those with family history of breast cancer
- Women with high breast tissue density
- Women who had earlier onset of menstruation (12 years or younger)
- Women with later menopause (55 years or older)
- Women with later first-term pregnancy (30 years or older) and no children or no breast feeding
- Women with early or recent use of contraceptives
- Women who had greater than four years of hormone replacement therapy
- Postmenopausal obese women
- Women with exposures to secondhand smoke
- Women with exposure to ionizing radiation
Men are generally at low risk for developing breast cancer.
- Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.
- Breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States.
- Breast cancer results in the highest death rate of any cancer in women between the ages of 20 and 59 years.
- White, non-Hispanic women have the highest incidence of breast cancer in the United States.
- African American women have a higher incidence of breast cancer before age 40 and are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age.
- Breast cancer incidence and death rates generally increase with age.
- Each year about 1,700 men in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer.
- Recent data indicate a significant decrease in breast cancer incidence in the United States.
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FAQs - Breast Cancer
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