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Breast Cancer Diagnosis By Age

Global Breast Cancer Mortality Rates

Woman diagnosed with breast cancer at early age

In 2011 over 508,000 women died of breast cancer worldwide according to the World Health Organization .

Although breast cancer is often associated with the developed world almost half of all breast cancer cases and 58% of deaths occur in less developed countries.

In 2012 the top 20 countries for breast cancer survival rates are in the table below taken from World Cancer Research Fund International . The ranking of the countries is based upon the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer who were alive 5 years later. Figures are based on breast cancer survivors per 100,000 adult women.

Early Detection Programs Without Mammographic Screening

In November 2014, experts from 16 countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer to assess the cancer-preventive and adverse effects of different methods of breast cancer screening. This diverse expert group concluded that existing evidence is sufficient to conclude that mammographic screening reduces breast-cancer mortality in women 50 to 69 years of age3. Although mammography screening has contributed to improved breast cancer survival in many countries, such screening programs are often unavailable in LMICs. These countries continue to struggle with increasing morbidity and mortality from advanced breast cancers, which in many situations comprise the majority of cases diagnosed.16 Mammographic screening is generally neither affordable nor appropriate for detecting tumors in the advanced stages usually seen in LMICs, where women often present with tumors that are easily palpable, visible or ulcerated through the skin17, necessitating an exploration of alternatives to mammographic screening.

Will I Have To Have Chemo If I Have Breast Cancer

Tran says chemotherapy can be an effective way to reduce the size of a tumor, but admits the regimen can be tough. Depending on your individual situation, chemo is not always necessary.

For postmenopausal patients with invasive cancer where the tumor is greater than 1 centimeter and hormone receptor positive, the information we get from the oncotype genetic profile of cancer can help predict if chemotherapy will be beneficial, she says.

If tests come back with a low score for certain factors, even if theres cancer in lymph nodes, the patient may be able to skip chemotherapy and instead receive hormone-blocking treatment, which is easier to take and involves fewer side effects. Tran says hormone therapy is given over five years, and can be administered in pill form.

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Talk With Others Who Understand

MyBCTeam is the social network for people with breast cancer and their loved ones. On MyBCTeam, more than 53,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with breast cancer.

Are you worried about your risk of developing breast cancer? Share your experiences in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on MyBCTeam.

When To Start Screening

BRCA Testing in Young Cancer Patients

We recommend mammogram screening to start no earlier than age 40 and no later than age 50 for women of average risk for breast cancer, and continue through to at least age 74, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright. Screening mammography should occur at least once every two years. For women whose screening mammograms show they have dense breasts, an extra testa breast ultrasoundis recommended.

Dr. Andrejeva-Wright says it is important to talk with a health care provider about when you should start getting mammograms, based on your unique health profile, and to make an appointment to see your doctor if you notice any unusual breast changes.

Any time a woman feels a breast mass, which does not go away, while doing a breast self-exam at any age, she should get it checked out, says Dr. Silber.

More than half of the time, women detect breast cancers themselves when they notice an unusual breast change. Whenever there is a new mass or lump, tell your doctorit should be evaluated by a clinical physical examination followed by breast imaging, says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright. Other signs to be aware of include asymmetry of the breasts and nipple changes such as discharge or peeling skin around the nipple.

Says Dr. Andrejeva-Wright, These symptoms dont mean you have breast cancer, but its a reason to seek an opinion from a medical provider.

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What Is The Average American Womans Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer During Her Lifetime

Based on current incidence rates, 12.9% of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some time during their lives . This estimate, from the most recent SEER Cancer Statistics Review , is based on breast cancer statistics for the years 2015 through 2017.

This estimate means that, if the current incidence rate stays the same, a woman born today has about a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life. On the other hand, the chance that she will never have breast cancer is 87.1%, or about 7 in 8.

For men born in the United States today, the lifetime risk of breast cancer is 0.13%, based on breast cancer statistics for the years 2015 through 2017. This means that a man born today has about a 1 in 800 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during his life.

All Cancers Combined Incidence By Age

Incidence rates are strongly related to age for all cancers combined, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2016-2018, on average each year more than a third of new cases were in people aged 75 and over.

Age-specific incidence rates rise steeply from around age 55-59. The highest rates are in the 85 to 89 age group for females and males.

Incidence rates are significantly higher in females than males in the younger age groups and significantly lower in females than males in the older age groups.The gap is widest at age 40 to 44, when the age-specific incidence rate is 2.1 times higher in females than males.

All Cancers , Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2016-2018

Children aged 0-14, and young people aged 15-24, each account for less than one per cent of all new cancer cases in the UK . Adults aged 25-49 contribute around a tenth of all new cancer cases, with almost twice as many cases in females as males in this age group. Adults aged 50-74 account for more than half of all new cancer cases, and elderly people aged 75+ account for more than a third , with slightly fewer cases in females than males in both age groups. There are more people aged 50-74 than aged 75+ in the population overall, hence the number of cancer cases is higher in 50-74s, but incidence rates are higher in 75+s.

Also Check: What Happens When Breast Cancer Spreads To Lymph Nodes

Brain Cancer Is Most Commonly Diagnosed After Someone Is 65 Years Old But It Is Also A Common Childhood Cancer

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America notes that the frequency of brain cancer diagnoses increase with age, with most cases being diagnosed in individuals who are 65 or older.

But, brain tumors are also the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for children under the age of 14, according to Everyday Health

According to the American Brain Tumor Association, someoutward signs of brain cancer can vary depending on a tumors size, type, and location. However, common symptoms include headaches, seizures, memory loss, personality changes, and vision problems.

Visit INSIDERs homepage for more.

What You Need To Know

Woman diagnosed with breast cancer after being denied mammograms
  • According to the National Cancer Institute, women 70 and older have a 1 in 24 chance of developing breast cancer at some point in their lives. Men can also get breast cancer.
  • Treatment which could include surgery, hormone-blocking pills, targeted radiation or a combination of these therapies depends on the characteristics of the tumor. Chemotherapy is used occasionally.
  • Healthy, active, independent patients have the best chance of a good outcome.

Read Also: What Does Breast Cancer Look Like On The Outside

Things You Can Change

Fortunately, there are risk factors for breast cancer that are under your control. These factors include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle: Women who are not physically active are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Obesity: Older women who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: Women who take hormones such as estrogen or progesterone for over five years during menopause are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Women who take oral contraceptives may also be at higher risk.
  • Alcohol use: A womans risk of breast cancer may increase with the number of alcoholic drinks she consumes.

Mom Of 2 Battles Breast Cancer While Pregnant

After a follow-up biopsy on her left breast, Couric said she received a call from her doctor with the diagnosis.

“I felt sick and the room started to spin,” Couric wrote. “I was in the middle of an open office, so I walked to a corner and spoke quietly, my mouth unable to keep up with the questions swirling in my head.”

Since the diagnosis in June, Couric said she has undergone a lumpectomy and several weeks of radiation to treat what her doctors diagnosed as stage 1A breast cancer.

She said the lumpectomy revealed a 2.5-centimeter tumor.

“I was warned that I may be fatigued and my skin may turn a little pink. Yesterday was my final round,” Couric wrote, describing radiation, in an essay published on Sept. 28. “My left breast does look like Ive been sunbathing topless, but other than that, Ive felt fine.”

Couric, who lost her husband, sister and mother-in-law to other types of cancer, said she felt grateful for all the advancements made in breast cancer research over the last several decades.

In addition to the treatments she’s already undergone, Couric said she will also take medication for the next five years. The medication, aromatase inhibitor, is a class of drugs that lowers estrogen levels, according to the American Cancer Society.

Couric shared her diagnosis on the eve of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is held annually in the month of October.

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Breast Cancer Statistics In Young Adults

Although breast cancer in young adults is rare, more than 250,000 living in the United States today were diagnosed under age 40. In young adults, breast cancer tends to be diagnosed in its later stages. It also tends to be more aggressive. Young adults have a higher mortality rate. As well as a higher risk of metastatic recurrence .

Clinical Data And Tumor Characteristics

Breast cancer quadruples in 15 years

The surgeon identifying the cases and constructing the database also collected data regarding date of diagnosis, menopausal status, height, weight, parity, laterality, tumor location, and distant metastases through medical records and the Swedish Cancer Registry. Information concerning tumor size, histological type, and ALNI was retrieved from histopathological examinations. Tumor type was classified using a modification of the World Health Organization classification as proposed by Linell et al. . ALNI was divided into positive, negative, or unknown if no axillary dissection had been performed.

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Breast Cancer Incidence By Age

Breast cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2016-2018, on average each year around a quarter of new cases were in people aged 75 and over.

Age-specific incidence rates rise steadily from age 25-29, more steeply from age 35-39 in females and from age 60-64 in males. The highest rates are in in the 90+ age group for females and the 85 to 89 age group for males.

Incidence rates are significantly higher in females than males in most age groups. The gap is widest at age 30 to 34, when the age-specific incidence rate is 2066 times higher in females than males.

Breast cancer , Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Females, 2016-2018

For female breast cancer, like most cancer types, incidence increases with age. There is a brief plateau shortly after age 50 when routine screening starts, reflecting the diagnosis of prevalent cases at first-time screening. The brief drop in incidence shortly after age 70 when routine screening ends may be a compensatory drop as screening has brought forward diagnoses in women in this age group incidence subsequently returns to the rates expected.

Breast cancer , Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Males, 2016-2018

Diagnosis Of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is often first detected as an abnormality on a mammogram before it is felt by the patient or health care provider.

Evaluation of breast cancer includes the following:

  • Clinical examination

The following physical findings should raise concern:

  • Lump or contour change
  • Edema or peau dorange

If a palpable lump is found and possesses any of the following features, breast cancer may be present:

  • Fixation to skin or muscle

Screening

Early detection remains the primary defense in preventing breast cancer. Screening modalities include the following:

  • Breast self-examination
  • Ultrasonography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

Ultrasonography and MRI are more sensitive than mammography for invasive cancer in nonfatty breasts. Combined mammography, clinical examination, and MRI are more sensitive than any other individual test or combination of tests.

Biopsy

Core biopsy with image guidance is the recommended diagnostic approach for newly diagnosed breast cancers. This is a method for obtaining breast tissue without surgery and can eliminate the need for additional surgeries. Open excisional biopsy is the surgical removal of the entire lump.

See Workup for more detail.

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Prognosis By Cancer Type

DCIS is divided into comedo and noncomedo subtypes, a division that provides additional prognostic information on the likelihood of progression or local recurrence. Generally, the prognosis is worse for comedo DCIS than for noncomedo DCIS .

Approximately 10-20% of women with LCIS develop invasive breast cancer within 15 years after their LCIS diagnosis. Thus, LCIS is considered a biomarker of increased breast cancer risk.

Infiltrating ductal carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed breast tumor and has a tendency to metastasize via lymphatic vessels. Like ductal carcinoma, infiltrating lobular carcinoma typically metastasizes to axillary lymph nodes first. However, it also has a tendency to be more multifocal. Nevertheless, its prognosis is comparable to that of ductal carcinoma.

Typical or classic medullary carcinomas are often associated with a good prognosis despite the unfavorable prognostic features associated with this type of breast cancer, including ER negativity, high tumor grade, and high proliferative rates. However, an analysis of 609 medullary breast cancer specimens from various stage I and II National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project protocols indicates that overall survival and prognosis are not as good as previously reported. Atypical medullary carcinomas also carry a poorer prognosis.

Additionally, lymph node metastasis is frequently seen in this subtype , and the number of lymph nodes involved appears to correlate with survival.

Menstrual And Reproductive History

McGregor woman continues fight against breast cancer 2 years after diagnosis

The menstrual cycle increases levels of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone in the body.

Starting menstrual periods at a younger age or going through menopause at a later age raises the bodys exposure to these hormones, which can increase a persons risk of breast cancer.

Those who start their menstrual period before the age of 12 years and those who go through menopause after the age of 55 years have an increased risk of breast cancer.

Females who have never given birth at full-term and those who had their first full-term pregnancy after the age of 30 years also have a higher risk of breast cancer, according to the NCI.

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What Is The Biggest Risk Factor For Breast Cancer

After gender, age is the most influential risk factor for developing breast cancer. Women younger than age 40 account for only 4.7 percent of invasive breast cancer diagnoses and only 3.6 percent of in situ breast cancer diagnoses. Over 70 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses are made in women who are 50 or older.

What About Breast Cancer In Men

Breast cancer in men is rare less than 1 percent of all breast cancer cases but it can still occur, according to the ACS. A mans risk of getting breast cancer during his lifetime is about

The stages of breast cancer relate to how much the cancer has grown and how far its spread. Generally, the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the higher the chances for long-term survival.

Stage 0 This is a precancerous stage with no invasive cancer cells.
Stage 1 The tumor is small and localized to the breast. There may be a small amount of cancer in nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 2 The tumor is still localized to the breast but is larger and may have spread to several nearby lymph nodes.
Stage 3 This stage includes cancers that have spread to the skin, chest wall, or multiple lymph nodes in or near the breast.
Stage 4 This is metastatic breast cancer, meaning its spread to one or more distant parts of the body, most commonly to the bones, lungs, or liver.

The stages of breast cancer are based on the following factors:

  • whether the lymph nodes contain cancer cells
  • whether the cancer has metastasized, meaning its spread to other, more distant parts of the body

Since 2018, the following factors have also been used to determine breast cancer stage:

  • whether the cancer cells have hormone receptors and need estrogen or progesterone to grow
  • whether the cancer cells have the HER2 protein that helps them grow
  • tumor grade, meaning how aggressive the cells look under the microscope

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