Breast Cancer

This year, more than 268,600 women and 2,600 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and more than 42,260 will die from the disease. If diagnosed early and treated before it spreads, five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99%.

This year, more than 268,600 women and 2,600 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer (cancer that has spread from where it started in the breast into the surrounding healthy tissue), and more than 42,260 will die from the disease.

If diagnosed early and treated before it spreads, five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99 percent.

You might be at an increased risk for breast cancer if you are a woman who:

  • Has abnormal genes, such as mutated BRCA-1, BRCA-2 or PALB-2 genes.
  • Began her menstrual period before age 12 or began menopause after age 55.
  • Used hormone replace therapy (HRT) with estrogen and progesterone for more than 10 years.
  • Has a family history of breast cancer, colorectal cancer or ovarian cancer.
  • Has a personal history of ovarian cancer.
  • Is currently using or has recently used birth control pills.
  • Has never had children, or had her first child after age 30.
  • Smokes or uses tobacco.

You might be at an increased risk for breast cancer if you are a woman or man who:

  • Is overweight or obese.
  • Is not physically active.
  • Is over age 40. Most breast cancer is diagnosed in women over 40. On average, men with breast cancer are diagnosed at age 68.
  • Has already had cancer in one breast.
  • Has a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
  • Has had radiation therapy close to his or her chest.

Don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Get screened according to guidelines. If you do notice any of the following symptoms, talk with your health care professional:

  • A lump, hard knot or thickening in the breast.
  • A lump under your arm.
  • A change in the size or shape of a breast.
  • Nipple pain, tenderness or discharge, including bleeding.
  • Itchiness, scales, soreness or rash on nipple.
  • A nipple turning inward or inverted.
  • A change in skin color and texture (dimpling, puckering or redness).
  • A breast that feels warm or swollen.
  • If you have babies, breast feed them.
  • Limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
  • In your 20s and 30s, have a clinical breast exam (CBE) by a health care professional at least every three years
  • Beginning at age 40, have an annual CBE and mammogram
  • If you are at high risk, talk with your health care professional about beginning annual mammograms at a younger age and/or having a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your health care professional about genetic testing
  • When you reach menopause, talk with your health care professional about whether you should have hormone replacement therapy
  • Know what is normal for your breasts. If you notice changes, see your health care professional right away

Breast Cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of the breast cancer. The most common forms of treatment are:

  • Lumpectomy (surgery to remove the cancer) combined with radiation.
  • Mastectomy (surgery to remove the  entire breast).
  • Chemotherapy, radiation or hormone therapy, used alone or in combination before or after surgery.



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