Get the Facts: Breast Cancer
Focused on Health - October 2008
By Rachel Winters
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women excluding skin cancer. More than 182,000 new breast cancer cases in women are expected to occur in the United States this year, and about 2,000 new breast cancer cases are expected to occur in men in 2008. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all breast cancer cases (American Cancer Society).
Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow uncontrollably, damaging surrounding tissue. Breast cancer forms in the tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk).
All women should be familiar with their breasts so that they will notice any changes and report them to their doctor without delay. Many breast changes – including lumps – are not cancer, but if you notice one or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, see your doctor.
An individual’s best chance for surviving breast cancer is early detection. When found early, the survival rate is 96% (American Cancer Society).
Women should begin getting yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams at age 40, continuing for as long as you are in good health. Try to schedule clinical breast exam at the time of regularly scheduled mammogram.
Learn more about breast self awareness and about what to expect at your first mammogram by visiting our multimedia resource box on the right-hand side of this page.