October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this important month, following are some important facts and figures from the American Cancer Society regarding breast cancer in the United States:
- Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women.
- It is estimated that about 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2012.
- It is estimated that about 63,300 new cases of carcinoma in situ (the earliest form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed in women in 2012.
- It is estimated that about 39,510 women will die from breast cancer in 2012.
- Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women, second only to lung cancer.
- At this time, there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
There are certain risk factors that make you more at risk for developing breast cancer. Some risk factors can be modified through lifestyle changes while others cannot. Some of the risk factors that cannot be modified include gender (females are much more at risk than males), Age (your risk of developing breast cancer increases as you get older), genetics (about 5% 5o 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary), and race (overall, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are African-American women, however, African American women are more likely to die from breast cancer). Some of the risk factors that can be modified include alcohol use (women who have 2-5 drinks daily have about 1 1/2 times the risk of women who do not drink alcohol), and being overweight or obese.
Early detection is the best tool we have to combat breast cancer. To get more information about your risks of developing breast cancer or to schedule a mammogram, talk to your Gynecologist today.