Breast Cancer Facts & Figures

More women in the U.S. are living with breast cancer than any other cancer, excluding skin cancer. Approximately 3 million women are living with breast cancer: 2.3 million who have been diagnosed and 1 million who do not yet know they have the disease.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide, excluding skin cancer. In 2010, an estimated 261,100 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed among women in the U.S. Additionally, 1,970 U.S. men were diagnosed with breast cancer. In Georgia, it is estimated that more than 8,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 1,200 will die from the disease this year.

A woman in the U.S. has a 1 in 8 chance of developing invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. In 1975, this risk was 1 in 11. Approximately 12% of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer die from the disease within five years and at 10 years 20% will have died.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women. In 2010, approximately 39,840 American women died from the disease. That is one breast cancer death EVERY 14 minutes. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for U.S. women between the ages of 20 and 59, and the leading cause of cancer death for women worldwide.

All women are at risk for breast cancer. About 90 % of women who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

Older women are more likely to develop breast cancer than younger women. About 77% of breast cancers occur in women aged 50 or older. Less than 5 % of all cases occur in women under 40; however younger women who develop breast cancer have a lower survival rate.

Combining all age groups, white (non-Hispanic) women are more likely to develop breast cancer than black women. However, the breast cancer death rate is higher among African American women than white women despite a lower incidence rate. The five year relative survival rate for breast cancer among African American women is 75%, compared with 89% among whites.

The following factors increase a women’s risk for breast cancer: Older age, earlier age at menarche, later age at menopause, having no children, later age at first full term pregnancy, daily alcohol consumption, use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), use of diethyl stilbestrol (DES), menopausal obesity, ionizing radiation, genetic factors, family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Factors that decrease a woman’s risk of breast cancer include: breast feeding and exercise.

Current methods of treatment for breast cancer in use in the US include: surgery (mastectomy and lumpectomy), radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and monoclonal antibody therapy.

Mammography screening does not prevent or cure breast cancer, but may detect the disease before any symptoms occur. Breast cancer tumors can exist for six to ten years before they grow large enough to be detected by mammography.

There is nothing a woman can do to ensure that she will not get breast cancer and there is no cure for breast cancer. But, there is something we can do to make a difference. Act now to ensure that women have access to screening and treatment programs. Demand funding for research programs that will help us find the causes of breast cancer and bring us closer to a cure!