About Breast Cancer
About Breast Cancer

Learning the facts about breast cancer and formulating an early detection plan are important ways to protect yourself and your loved ones. Please take a moment to learn more about breast cancer with this important information from the National Breast Cancer Foundation, our partner and beneficiary.



Risk Factors

Early Signs

Detection Plan

Common Myths


Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women and the second leading cause of cancer death (exceeded by lung cancer in 1985). Breast cancer is three times more common than all gynecologic malignancies put together. The incidence of breast cancer has been increasing steadily from an incidence of 1:20 in 1960 to 1:7 women today.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that each year over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed and over 40,000 patients will die from the disease. Breast cancer is truly an epidemic among women and we don't know why.

"When breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 96%."

—National Breast Cancer Foundation

Breast cancer is not exclusively a disease of women. For every 100 women with breast cancer, 1 male will develop the disease. The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that approximately 1,700 men will develop the disease and 450 will die each year. The evaluation of men with breast masses is similar to that in women, including mammography.

The incidence of breast cancer is very low in a person's twenties, gradually increases and plateaus at the age of forty-five, and increases dramatically after age fifty. Fifty percent of breast cancer is diagnosed in women over sixty-five, indicating the ongoing necessity of yearly screening throughout a woman's life.

Breast cancer is considered a heterogeneous disease, meaning that it is a different disease in different women, a different disease in different age groups, and has different cell populations within the tumor itself. Generally, breast cancer is a much more aggressive disease in younger women. Autopsy studies show that 2% of the population has undiagnosed breast cancer at the time of death. Older women typically have much less aggressive disease than younger women.


Every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.
One woman in eight who lives to age 85 will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55.
Seventy percent of all breast cancers are found through breast self-exams. Not all lumps are detectable by touch. We recommend regular mammograms and monthly breast self-exams.
Eight out of ten breast lumps are not cancerous. If you find a lump, don't panic-call your doctor for an appointment.
Mammography is a low-dose X-ray examination that can detect breast cancer up to two years before it is large enough to be felt.
When breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 96%. This is good news! Over 2 million breast cancer survivors are alive in America today.

Risk Factors1

Early onset of menses and late menopause: Onset of the menstrual cycle prior to the age of 12 and menopause after 50 causes increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Diets high in saturated fat: The types of fat are important. Monounsaturated fats such as canola oil and olive oil do not appear to increase the risk of developing breast cancer like polyunsaturated fats, corn oil, and meat.

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