Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.
The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissues in the breasts, but with early detection and treatment, most people are able to lead a normal life.
Results of research on breast cancer in the United States
- One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
- Each year it is estimated that over 230,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
- Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,350 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 440 will die each year.
- Over 2.9 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today.
Breast cancer as a global burden
The World Health Organisation, WHO, said, “Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization”.
However, in recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older.
Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990 due to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.