What Is The Average American Womans Risk Of Being Diagnosed With Breast Cancer At Different Ages
Many women are more interested in the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer at specific ages or over specific time periods than in the risk of being diagnosed at some point during their lifetime. Estimates by decade of life are also less affected by changes in incidence and mortality rates than longer-term estimates. The SEER report estimates the risk of developing breast cancer in 10-year age intervals . According to the current report, the risk that a woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer during the next 10 years, starting at the following ages, is as follows:
- Age 30 . . . . . . 0.49%
- Age 40 . . . . . . 1.55%
- Age 50 . . . . . . 2.40%
- Age 60 . . . . . . 3.54%
- Age 70 . . . . . . 4.09%
These risks are averages for the whole population. An individual womans breast cancer risk may be higher or lower depending on known factors, as well as on factors that are not yet fully understood. To calculate an individual womans estimated breast cancer risk, health professionals can use the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, which takes into account several known breast cancer risk factors.
How Do Tamoxifen Raloxifene Anastrozole And Exemestane Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer
If you are at increased risk for developing breast cancer, four medications tamoxifen , raloxifene , anastrozole , and exemestane may help reduce your risk of developing this disease. These medications act only to reduce the risk of a specific type of breast cancer called estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. This type of breast cancer accounts for about two-thirds of all breast cancers.
Tamoxifen and raloxifene are in a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators . These drugs work by blocking the effects of estrogen in breast tissue by attaching to estrogen receptors in breast cells. Because SERMs bind to receptors, estrogen is blocked from binding. Estrogen is the fuel that makes most breast cancer cells grow. Blocking estrogen prevents estrogen from triggering the development of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer.
Anastrozole and exemestane are in a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors . These drugs work by blocking the production of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors do this by blocking the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, which is needed to make estrogen.
What Are The Types Of Breast Cancer
The most common types of breast cancer are:
- Infiltrating ductal carcinoma. This cancer starts in the milk ducts of the breast. It then breaks through the wall of the duct and invades the surrounding tissue in the breast. This is the most common form of breast cancer, accounting for 80% of cases.
- Ductal carcinoma in situ is ductal carcinoma in its earliest stage, or precancerous . In situ refers to the fact that the cancer hasn’t spread beyond its point of origin. In this case, the disease is confined to the milk ducts and has not invaded nearby breast tissue. If untreated, ductal carcinoma in situ may become invasive cancer. It is almost always curable.
- Infiltrating lobular carcinoma. This cancer begins in the lobules of the breast where breast milk is produced, but has spread to surrounding tissues in the breast. It accounts for 10 to 15% of breast cancers. This cancer can be more difficult to diagnose with mammograms.
- Lobular carcinoma in situ is a marker for cancer that is only in the lobules of the breast. It isn’t a true cancer, but serves as a marker for the increased risk of developing breast cancer later, possibly in both or either breasts. Thus, it is important for women with lobular carcinoma in situ to have regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
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Breast Cancer Vs Normal Development
Normal breast development can resemble breast cancer, and it is not possible to tell what is normal and what is not based on a comparison of symptoms.
Normal breast development, however, usually follows a pattern. It begins with nickel-sized lumps under each nipple, and the breasts gradually grow from these lumps.
Breast cancer, in general, is survivable with prompt treatment. This is particularly true of noninvasive breast cancers, and of breast cancers that have not spread to other areas of the body.
Treatments often include chemotherapy, radiation, medication, surgery, or a combination of these.
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.
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Who Gets Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women other than skin cancer. Increasing age is the most common risk factor for developing breast cancer, with 66% of breast cancer patients being diagnosed after the age of 55.
In the US, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer, and it’s the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 35 to 54. Only 5 to 10% of breast cancers occur in women with a clearly defined genetic predisposition for the disease. The majority of breast cancer cases are “sporadic, meaning there is no definitive gene mutation.
Race And Ethnicity And Breast Cancer Risk
The risk of breast cancer incidence and mortality does vary according to different ethnic and racial groups. We can see the risk for each different racial group on our bar chart above.
In general, white women are more likely to develop breast cancer. However, there are many factors involved in breast cancer risk factors and race.
We have a whole new post on Incidence and Mortality Rates by Race.
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The Importance Of Age And The Lifetime Risks For Breast Cancer
In 1989, a womans lifetime risks for breast cancer was about 1 in 10. That risk increased to about 1 in 7 by 2003 and is currently 1 in 8 in the US over an 80-year lifespan.
Even though it may seem that breast cancer risk has increased in recent years, the actual risk of dying from breast cancer has decreased significantly.
As we can see from the graph above, the likelihood of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases as a woman ages.
The percentages on the graph can also be translated to the following risks for breast cancer listed below:-
- Age 30: 1 in 227
- At age 40: 1 in 68
- Age 50: 1 in 42
- Age 60: 1 in 28
- At Age 70: 1 in 26
What jumps out at you from the above table is the exponential increase in probability between age 30 and 40 years.
A woman is around 3.5 times more likely to get breast cancer at age 40 than she was aged 30. In addition, between the ages of 40 and 50, there is another increase in probability.
Cancers Linked To Radiation Treatment
Lung cancer: The risk of lung cancer is higher in women who had radiation therapy after a mastectomy as part of their treatment. The risk is even higher in women who smoke. The risk does not seem to be increased in women who have radiation therapy to the breast after a lumpectomy.
Sarcoma: Radiation therapy to the breast also increases the risk of sarcomas of blood vessels , bone , and other connective tissues in areas that were treated. Overall, this risk is low.
Certain blood cancers: Breast radiation is linked to a higher risk of leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome . Overall, though, this risk is low.
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Get To And Stay At A Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for many types of cancer. You can control your weight with the choices you make about healthy eating and exercise:- Avoiding excessive weight gain throughout life- Balance the calories you take in with the amount of physical activity you do
If you are overweight, try to get to a healthy weight and stay there. Losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start. Watching your portion sizes is an important part of weight control especially for foods high in fat and sugar. Low-fat and fat-free doesnt always mean low-calorie, so read labels and try to eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in the place of higher-calorie foods.
Abortion And Breast Cancer Risk
Abortion is an issue that can bring out strong feelings in people. These feelings are often linked to personal, religious, and political views that may have little to do with any connection to a disease like cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women , and its the second leading cancer killer in women. Because it can be a deadly disease, its one that many women fear.
Linking these topics creates a great deal of emotion and debate. But scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.
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Inheriting Certain Gene Changes
About 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, meaning that they result directly from gene changes passed on from a parent.
BRCA1 and BRCA2: The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. In normal cells, these genes help make proteins that repair damaged DNA. Mutated versions of these genes can lead to abnormal cell growth, which can lead to cancer.
- If you have inherited a mutated copy of either gene from a parent, you have a higher risk of breast cancer.
- On average, a woman with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation has up to a 7 in 10 chance of getting breast cancer by age 80. This risk is also affected by how many other family members have had breast cancer.
- Women with one of these mutations are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, as well as to have cancer in both breasts.
- Women with one of these gene changes also have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer and some other cancers.
- In the United States, BRCA mutations are more common in Jewish people of Ashkenazi origin than in other racial and ethnic groups, but anyone can have them.
Other genes: Other gene mutations can also lead to inherited breast cancers. These gene mutations are much less common, and most of them do not increase the risk of breast cancer as much as the BRCA genes.
Mutations in several other genes have also been linked to breast cancer, but these account for only a small number of cases.
Can I Lower My Risk Of Getting A Second Cancer
There’s no sure way to prevent all cancers, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk and stay as healthy as possible. Getting the recommended early detection tests, as mentioned above, is one way to do this.
Its also important to stay away from tobacco products. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers, including some of the second cancers seen after breast cancer.
To help maintain good health, breast cancer survivors should also:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
Symptoms of breast cancer can include:
- a lump or area of thickened tissue in the breast
- a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts
- a change in the shape or appearance of the nipple, such as crusting, sores, redness or inversion
- changes to the skin of the breasts, such as dimpling , rash, or redness
- discomfort or swelling in either armpit
Symptoms of breast cancer in men are similar to those that women experience.
If you have any unusual symptoms, such as the above, you should see your doctor to get them checked.
People With Limited Information On Family Medical History
You may not know your family medical history.
Risk assessment tools such as the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool can estimate your breast cancer risk without this information. However, it will be less accurate without your family history details.
Talking with your health care provider about other risk factors for breast cancer can help you learn about your risk even if you dont have information on your family medical history.
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What Are The Risks Of Having A Mammogram
Each time you have a mammogram, there is a risk that the test:
- May miss some breast cancers. And some cancers that are found may still be fatal, even with treatment.
- May show an abnormal result when it turns out there wasn’t any cancer . This means you may need more testsâsuch as another mammogram, a breast ultrasound, or a biopsyâto make sure you don’t have cancer. These tests can be harmful and cause a lot of worry.
- May find cancers that will never cause a problem . Some breast cancers never grow or spread and are harmless. You might have this type of cancer, but a mammogram can’t tell whether it’s harmless. So you may get cancer treatmentâincluding surgery, radiation, or chemotherapyâthat you don’t need.
- Will briefly expose you to very small amounts of radiation. While the risk from being exposed to radiation from a mammogram is low, it can add up over time.
|Ages 40â49||About 19 out of 1,000 women|
|Ages 50â59||About 30 out of 1,000 women|
|Ages 60â69||About 44 out of 1,000 women|
*Based on the best available evidence
*Based on the best available evidence
Breast cancer diagnosis
Mammograms can find some breast cancers early, when the cancer may be more easily treated. Often a mammogram can find cancers that are too small for you or your doctor to feel.
Take a group of women who have a mammogram every year for 10 years.footnote 3
Take Action To Change Young Adult Breast Cancer Statistics
When all young adults affected by breast cancer work together, we can raise awareness, improve our representation in research and make each other stronger. We are dedicated to these goals, working to turn our unique challenges into opportunities for shared success. Join the movement! Become an advocate for young women with breast cancer.
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Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or other hereditary breast and ovarian syndrome- associated cancer
Known deleterious gene mutation
Prior breast biopsy with specific pathology
Lobular carcinoma in situ
Prolonged interval between menarche and first pregnancy
Menopausal hormone therapy with estrogen and progestin
Higher body mass index
Prior exposure to high-dose therapeutic chest irradiation in young women
Breast Cancer And Teenage Girls
If youre a teenage girl, you might be worried about your risk of getting breast cancer.
Developing breast cancer when youre a teenager is extremely rare. Its also uncommon in women in their 20s and 30s. The vast majority of breast cancers are diagnosed in women over the age of 50.
There can be a lot of unreliable information and scare stories on the internet, so its important to use reputable websites or talk to your GP if youre worried about any changes to your breasts. You can also call our Helpline free on 0808 800 6000 to speak with one of our experts.
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Types Of Breast Lumps That Teens Can Get
The most common type of breast cancer found in teens is secretory adenocarcinoma. This is generally a slow growing, nonaggressive cancer.
Though theres little chance of this type of cancer spreading to other parts of the body, spread to local lymph nodes has been noted in a few cases.
Most breast lumps in teenage girls are fibroadenomas, which are noncancerous. An overgrowth of connective tissue in the breast causes fibroadenomas.
The lump is usually hard and rubbery, and you can move it around with your fingers. Fibroadenomas account for 91 percent of all solid breast masses in girls younger than 19 years old.
Other less common breast lumps in teens include cysts, which are noncancerous fluid-filled sacs.
Banging or injuring breast tissue, possibly during a fall or while playing sports, can also cause lumps.
If you feel anything unusual in your breast, see your doctor. They will ask:
- about your familys medical history
- when you discovered the lump
- if theres nipple discharge
- if the lump hurts
If anything looks or feels suspicious, your doctor will have you undergo an ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to see into your breasts. It can help determine whether a lump is solid, which is an indication of cancer.
If its fluid-filled, that will most likely indicate a cyst. Your doctor may also insert a fine needle into the lump to draw out tissue and test it for cancer.