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.
The Odds Of Developing Cancer
Receiving a cancer diagnosis or watching a loved one struggle with the disease can be a terrifying experience. According to MetLife, 41 percent of adults in the U.S. reportedly feared developing cancer during their lifetime.
But what are the chances of getting cancer? Statistics from the American Cancer Society suggest men have a 40.14 percent chance of getting the disease, while womens odds are 38.7 percent. As for specifics, prostate cancer is ranked highest for men, with an 11.6 percent risk.
For women, its breast cancer, carrying a 12.83 percent risk. However, the ACS has recently revealed lung cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer in women living in developed nations.
What about the odds of dying from cancer? Despite the alarming figures, dying from cancer has a slightly more optimistic outlook. Men have a 21.34 percent risk of dying from cancer throughout a lifetime, while women have an approximately 18.33 percent risk.
These encouraging statistics result from screening programs with early detection rates and significant advancements in cancer therapy treatments.
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If I Have Invasive Breast Cancer Do I Have To Have A Mastectomy
Mastectomy is one treatment for invasive breast cancer, but it isnt required in all cases, Tran says, especially now. Which treatments your doctor recommends and the order in which theyre given depend on several factors.
For example, she says, You and your doctor may decide that the best option for you is to undergo chemotherapy first. Chemotherapy can shrink the tumor and melt part of it away, so it is small enough to be managed with a lumpectomy instead of a full mastectomy.
If surgery is the best choice for you, new advancements for breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy with reconstruction can offer alternatives that preserve your appearance and self-image, such as oncoplastic breast reduction, nipple-sparing mastectomy, aesthetic flap closure and other techniques.
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Treating Breast Cancer In People Age 70 And Up
Older age increases the risk of several types of breast cancer. But advancements in diagnosis and highly individualized treatment plans are increasing the odds of recovery for older patients and making it possible for many to live longer, healthier lives.
Breast surgeon Hanh-Tam Tran, M.D., explains what people age 70 and older should know about being diagnosed with breast cancer and why theres reason for hope.
Having Had Radiation Therapy
This risk varies with age and is highest in people who were in their teens when they had radiation treatment. According to the
A number of lifestyle factors can increase someones risk of breast cancer. Being aware of these factors can help them reduce their breast cancer risk.
These lifestyle factors include:
- Being inactive: Physical inactivity increases a persons risk of breast cancer. Getting regular exercise may help reduce this risk.
- Taking hormones: Some types of hormone replacement therapy and hormonal birth control may increase the risk of breast cancer. Finding nonhormonal alternatives may reduce a persons chance of developing breast cancer.
- Being overweight after menopause: After menopause, people who are overweight are more likely to develop breast cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce breast cancer risk.
- Drinking alcohol: According to the
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How Do Doctors Treat Breast Cancer In Teens
Treatment of breast cancer in teens. Doctors treat secretory adenocarcinoma by surgically cutting out the cancer while sparing as much breast tissue as possible. Doctors consider chemotherapy and radiation on a case-by-case basis. The risks these treatments pose to young, developing bodies may outweigh the benefits.
Understanding Your Risk Of Breast Cancer
Several breast cancer risk assessment tools have been developed to help people estimate their chance of developing breast cancer. The best studied is the Gail model, which is available on the National Cancer Institutes website at www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool. After you enter some personal and family information, including your race/ethnicity, the tool provides you with a 5-year and lifetime estimate of the risk of developing invasive breast cancer. Because it only asks for information about breast cancer in first-degree family members and does not include their ages at diagnosis, the tool works best at estimating risk in people without a strong inherited breast cancer risk. In addition, it cannot be used by patients who have a personal history of breast cancer to determine their risk of developing a new breast cancer. For people with a personal history of breast cancer or a strong family history of breast cancer, other ways of determining their risk of breast cancer may work better. People with a strong family history of breast cancer risk should consider talking to a genetic counselor.
It is important to talk with your doctor about how to estimate your personal risk of breast cancer and to discuss risk-reducing or prevention options .
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Do Larger Breast Cancer Tumors Always Require A Mastectomy
No, not always. Tran says some large tumors do not require mastectomy. The surgical decision for lumpectomy versus mastectomy is determined by the tumors size relative to the size of the breast. Lumpectomy would likely be feasible for a 2-centimeter tumor in a person with very large breasts, but mastectomy would be recommended for the same tumor size in a person with small breasts, Tran explains.
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 .
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Differences By Race And Ethnicity
Some variations in breast cancer can be seen between racial and ethnic groups. For example,
- The median age of diagnosis is slightly younger for Black women compared to white women 63 years old).
- Black women have the highest death rate from breast cancer. This is thought to be partially because about 1 in 5 Black women with breast cancer have triple-negative breast cancer – more than any other racial/ethnic group.
- Black women have a higher chance of developing breast cancer before the age of 40 than white women.
- At every age, Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than any other race or ethnic group.
- White and Asian/Pacific Islander women are more likely to be diagnosed with localized breast cancer than Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
- Asian/Pacific Islanders have the lowest death rate from breast cancer.
- American Indian/Alaska Natives have the lowest rates of developing breast cancer.
No History Of Breastfeeding
If you breastfed, your risk of developing breast cancer may be reduced, especially if you did it for a year or longer. Breast cancer reduction is just one of many benefits associated with breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for about the first six months of life, then continuing to breastfeed, supplementing with appropriate foods, for one year or longer.
What to do: Consider breastfeeding, if possible, as it also protects your baby from many diseases.
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Making Sense Of Your Risk Factors
Figuring out your breast cancer risk isnt simple, so its important to work with your doctor to do it. Doctors often use The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool to estimate risk, but this model may not be the most accurate tool for black women. There are other risk assessment tools out there, so talk to your doctor about which might work best for you.
General Considerations For Screening
The goal of screening for cancer is to detect preclinical disease in healthy, asymptomatic patients to prevent adverse outcomes, improve survival, and avoid the need for more intensive treatments. Screening tests have both benefits and adverse consequences .
Breast self-examination, breast self-awareness, clinical breast examination, and mammography all have been used alone or in combination to screen for breast cancer. In general, more intensive screening detects more disease. Screening intensity can be increased by combining multiple screening methods, extending screening over a wider age range, or repeating the screening test more frequently. However, more frequent use of the same screening test typically is associated with diminishing returns and an increased rate of screening-related harms. Determining the appropriate combination of screening methods, the age to start screening, the age to stop screening, and how frequently to repeat the screening tests require finding the appropriate balance of benefits and harms. Determining this balance can be difficult because some issues, particularly the importance of harms, are subjective and valued differently from patient to patient. This balance can depend on other factors, particularly the characteristics of the screening tests in different populations and at different ages.
How Common Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, except for skin cancers. It is about 30% of all new female cancers each year.
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2022 are:
- About 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
- About 51,400 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ will be diagnosed.
- About 43,250 women will die from breast cancer.
Breast cancer mainly occurs in middle-aged and older women. The median age at the time of breast cancer diagnosis is 62. This means half of the women who developed breast cancer are 62 years of age or younger when they are diagnosed. A very small number of women diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 45.
Next Steps For Breast Cancer Survivors
Following a diagnosis of breast cancer, I always tell my patients to pace themselves. The journey after treatment can be long and challenging. The late, great Maya Angelou gave sage advice when she stated, My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
These 5 steps can help you thrive in your overall health and cancer survivorship:
Take care of yourself emotionally. Seeking social support, developing strong personal relationships, accessing mental health services, and having a solid spiritual foundation are effective steps to manage lifes stressors and especially those unique to cancer survivorship.
Eat a healthy diet. Good nutrition supports overall health, such as eating a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
Maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy diet and moderate physical activity lowers the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cancers and chronic diseases.
Stick with your follow-up care and other health screenings. Your routine oncology appointmentis a good time to talk about any concerns. If you notice any changes or new symptoms before your scheduled appointment, be sure to alert your health care provider. Also, take care of your entire body, including other recommended health screenings, such as Pap tests, general blood tests, blood pressure checks, and colonoscopy.
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What Do Brca1 And Brca2 Genetic Test Results Mean
BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation testing can give several possible results: a positive result, a negative result, or a variant of uncertain significance result.
Positive result. A positive test result indicates that a person has inherited a known harmful variant in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and has an increased risk of developing certain cancers. However, a positive test result cannot tell whether or when the tested individual will develop cancer. Some people who inherit a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 variant never develop cancer.
A positive test result may also have important implications for family members, including future generations.
- Both men and women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 variant, whether or not they develop cancer themselves, may pass the variant to their children. Each child has a 50% chance of inheriting a parents variant.
- All blood relatives of a person who has inherited a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 variant are at some increased risk of having the variant themselves. For example, each of that persons full siblings has a 50% chance of having inherited the variant as well.
- Very rarely, an individual may test positive for a harmful variant not inherited from either parent. This is called a de novo variant. Such a variant is one that arose in a germ cell of one of the parents and is present in all the cells of the person who grew from that cell. The children of someone with a de novo variant are at risk of inheriting the variant.
Looking Forward At Risk
Women who know they have inherited a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation can take steps to reduce their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. But any preventive measuresincluding intensive early surveillance, use of chemoprevention, and prophylactic surgerycome with their own risks. Estimates of cancer risk and of the risk reduction provided by preventive measures can help women make decisions about which of these options to pursue.
Until now, health care professionals who counsel BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers about their risk of cancer have mostly had to rely on data from large retrospective studiesstudies that enrolled women after theyd already been diagnosed with cancer. Most of these retrospective studies include women with cancer in their family, rather than women recruited from the general population. Although many of the retrospective, family-based studies used for such risk estimates have been of high quality, they carry the risk of bias because of their backward-looking nature and the way participants in family-based studies are recruited, explained Dr. García-Closas.
For the current study, the investigators, led by Antonis C. Antoniou, Ph.D., of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, used data collected from BRCA mutation carriers recruited by three different research consortia: the International BRCA1/2 Carrier Cohort Study, the Breast Cancer Family Registry, and the Kathleen Cuningham Foundation Consortium for Research Into Familial Breast Cancer.
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Clinical Considerations And Recommendations
How should individual breast cancer risk be assessed?
Health care providers periodically should assess breast cancer risk by reviewing the patients history. Breast cancer risk assessment is based on a combination of the various factors that can affect risk Box 1610111213. Initial assessment should elicit information about reproductive risk factors, results of prior biopsies, ionizing radiation exposure, and family history of cancer. Health care providers should identify cases of breast, ovarian, colon, prostate, pancreatic, and other types of germline mutation-associated cancer in first-degree, second-degree, and possibly third-degree relatives as well as the age of diagnosis. Women with a potentially increased risk of breast cancer based on initial history should have further risk assessment. Assessments can be conducted with one of the validated assessment tools available online, such as the Gail, BRCAPRO, Breast and Ovarian Analysis of Disease Incidence and Carrier Estimation Algorithm, International Breast Cancer Intervention Studies , or the Claus model 34.
Is screening breast self-examination recommended in women at average risk of breast cancer, and what should women do if they notice a change in one of their breasts?
Should practitioners perform routine screening clinical breast examinations in average-risk women?
When should screening mammography begin in average-risk women?
How frequently should screening mammography be performed in average-risk women?
Breast Cancer Incidence By Sex And Uk Country
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 15% of all new cancer cases .
In females in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer . In males in the UK, it is not among the 20 most common cancers .
99% of breast cancer cases in the UK are in females, and 1% are in males.
Breast cancer incidence rates rate ) for persons are similar to the UK average in all the UK constituent countries.
Breast Cancer , Average Number of New Cases Per Year, Crude and European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2016-2018
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What Are The Factors That Put A Woman At Higher Risk For Developing Breast Cancer
There are several factors that put a woman at higher risk for developing breast cancer, including: A personal history of breast cancer or a high risk lesion found by biopsy. A family history of breast cancer, particularly at an early age. A family history that is concerning for a genetic syndrome that may put them at a higher risk