When To Start Screening
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.
What Is Secondary Breast Cancer
Secondary breast cancer is when breast cancer spreads from the breast to other parts of the body, becoming incurable. Breast cancer most commonly spreads to the bones, brain, lungs or liver.
While it cannot be cured, there are treatments that can help control certain forms of the disease for some time and relieve symptoms to help people live well for as long as possible.
There are an estimated 35,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK. In around 5% of women, breast cancer has already spread by the time it is diagnosed.
You’re Most Likely To Be Diagnosed With Melanoma In Your 60s But It Is Also One Of The Most Common Cancers In Young Adults
The average age of someone diagnosed withmelanoma skin cancer is 63, according to the American Cancer Society. However, it is also one of the most common types of cancer in young adults, particularly in women.
Melanoma can be present anywhere on the body, but it usually appears on the legs or back. One of the most common indicators of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change in the appearance of an existing mole.
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Prostate Cancer Is Most Likely To Be Diagnosed In Individuals Over 50
Prostate cancer mainly affects peopleover the age of 50, according to Prostate Cancer UK. Most people are diagnosed between 65 and 69 and your risk can increase as you age.
Prostate canceris more likely to develop in people with a family history of prostate or breast cancer, as there is a connection between both types of genes.
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.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer
Being a woman and getting older are the main risk factors for breast cancer.
Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.
Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.
Example Of Breast Cancer Risk Going Up
Many studies have shown that women who have two or more alcoholic drinks each day have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. You may hear this relative risk described as a percentage or a number:
- Compared to women who do not drink, women who have two or more drinks per day have a 50% higher risk of breast cancer. Put another way, they are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer over the course of a lifetime than nondrinkers are. This doesnt mean that their lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is 50% it means that their risk of getting breast cancer is 50% higher relative to people who dont drink. This percentage is how you are likely to see relative risk reported by television, the Internet, and newspapers.
- Compared to women who do not drink, women who have two or more drinks per day have a relative risk of 1.5. This number is how researchers and scientific papers would usually talk about relative risk. The number 1 is assigned to the baseline group , since their risk remains the same. The .5 describes the relative increase in risk for the other group it is another way of expressing the 50% higher lifetime risk .Another way of saying this is that women who drink two or more alcoholic drinks per day have 1.5 times the risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink.
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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.
Breast Cancer Risk By Age
Approximately 12.4% of women in the United States develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Frightening as this statistic is, its encouraging to look at it from the other point of view that 87.6% of women will never develop the disease.
Multiple factors determine whether a woman will develop breast cancer. One of the most important factors, and least controllable, is her age. As the human body ages, the risk of cell abnormalities rises and the potential for uncontrolled cell growth rises with it.
Breast Cancer Risk by Age
The National Cancer Institutes Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program has calculated a womans breast cancer risk by age. As you can see from the results below, the risk increases sharply with every decade of life:
|Breast Cancer Rate in women|
Future Breast Cancer Risk by Age
Understanding your future risk of developing cancer helps you make the necessary lifestyle changes and incorporate other risk-reduction strategies to help decrease your risk. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control calculates a womans future risk based on her current age as follows:
Breast Cancer Risk by Age and Ethnicity
This information is based on average cancer rates in all populations. Your individual breast cancer risk by age depends on many other factors, including your ethnicity.
Know Your Risk Factors
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Can Breast Cancer In Younger Women Be Prevented
For women with a family history that is suggestive of a hereditary predisposition for breast cancer, a referral for genetic counseling may be appropriate. Identifying such genetic conditions will allow for a more personalized discussion on screening and preventive treatment options. For example, screening in BRCA mutation carriers begins at the age of 25.
Measures that all women can take to reduce breast cancer risk include:
- Achieving and maintaining ideal body weight
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Getting regular exercise
That being said, if breast cancer does develop, early detection and prompt treatment can significantly increase a womans chances of survival. More than 90% of women whose breast cancer is found in an early stage will survive.
Young women should be counseled on breast awareness and to report any breast changes to their healthcare provider. These changes can include:
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.
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Menstrual And Reproductive History
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.
Genetics And Family History
Up to 1 in 10 breast cancer cases may be caused by gene changes that are passed down within families. Usually, gene changes that cause breast cancer affect the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. When these genes dont work properly, damage can build up within breast cells, making them grow out of control.
People who have changes in their BRCA genes have a higher risk of developing some types of cancer, including both breast and ovarian cancer. They are also likely to develop these cancers at a younger age.
For people without BRCA gene changes, the average age at which breast cancer develops is 63. Studies have shown that women with BRCA1 gene mutations are most likely to develop breast cancer between the ages of 41 and 50. Women with BRCA2 gene mutations most often develop breast cancer between the ages of 51 and 60.
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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.
Who Should Get Screened
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest that females aged 5074 years who are at average risk of developing breast cancer should go for screening every 2 years.
Those aged 4049 years, particularly those with a higher risk of breast cancer, should speak to their doctor about the risks and benefits of undergoing regular screening.
Doctors tend to use a mammogram to screen people for breast cancer. A mammogram is a breast X-ray that can help detect breast cancer early on, before it starts to produce symptoms.
Other exams available for people at a higher risk of breast cancer include:
There are both risks and benefits associated with regularly screening for breast cancer. Many people conclude that the benefits outweigh the risks, but getting screened is a personal decision.
The risks of screening for breast cancer include:
- False positives: A false positive occurs when a test result falsely suggests that a person has cancer. False positives can prompt additional tests, which may cause anxiety and can be expensive and time consuming.
- Overtreatment: Some cancers are benign and do not go on to cause symptoms or other problems. Treating these types of cancers is called overtreatment, and it can lead to unnecessary side effects, expense, and anxiety.
- False negatives: A false negative occurs when a test result misses the presence of a cancer. False negatives can delay diagnosis and treatment.
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How Common Is Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. The average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. This means there is a 1 in 8 chance she will develop breast cancer. This also means there is a 7 in 8 chance she will never have the disease.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis And Survival Rates Over The Last 27 Years
The incidence of breast cancer has risen dramatically over the last 27 years, rising from about 9,827 new cases a year in 1994, to over 20,000 new cases a year in 2021. As a result, 1 in 7 women will now be diagnosed in their lifetime.
From NBCFs inception in 1994, five-year relative survival for breast cancer improved from 76% to 91%. This improvement is a result of research. But despite the improved survival rate, this year around 9 Australians will lose their lives to breast cancer every day. In 2021, there was over 3,000 deaths from breast cancer, including 36 males and 3,102 females.
Unfortunately, despite improved survival rates, the number of deaths from breast cancer each year is still rising. This is being driven by the increase in diagnoses.
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Protecting Against Breast Cancer
There is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer. You also cant change certain risk factors such as age, race, inherited gene changes, or family history. However, there are some ways you can reduce your risk.
Many lifestyle changes or habits can help lower your risk of developing breast cancer. These include:
- Lowering your alcohol consumption
- Eating a more balanced diet
- Getting more physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Making lifestyle changes to reduce cancer risk may be especially helpful in your middle-aged years. Your risk of developing certain types of cancer increases between the ages of 45 and 65. Focusing on health at this stage can help reduce your cancer risk later on.
How Many People Survive Breast Cancer
- Almost nine in ten of women survive breast cancer for five years or more.
- Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK due to a combination of improvements in treatment and care, earlier detection through screening and a focus on targets, including faster diagnosis.
- An estimated 600,000 people are alive in the UK after a diagnosis of breast cancer. This is predicted to rise to 1.2 million in 2030.
For many the overwhelming emotional and physical effects of the disease can be long-lasting.
Every year around 11,500women and 85 men die from breast cancer in the UK thats nearly 1,000 deaths each month, 31 each day or one every 45 minutes.
Breast cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of death in women under 50 in the UK.
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Ovarian Cancer Is Usually Diagnosed In Post
The risk of developing ovarian cancer increases with age, according to the American Cancer Society. Ovarian canceris rare in people under 40 and it usually develops after the onset of menopause. Half of all people with ovarian cancer are diagnosed after the age of 63.
Some of therisk factors for ovarian cancer include using fertility treatments, being overweight, smoking, and having had breast cancer.