Most of us know that every October symbolizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month around the globe. I witnessed my mother battling breast cancer three times since 1981. She is currently fighting the battle with widespread-metastatic breast cancer. Today she is winning!
According to Breastcancer.org:
- In 2022 in the United States, it’s estimated that 43,780 people — 43,250 women and 530 men — are going to die from breast cancer. According to the CDC, about 9% of all new cases of breast cancer in the U.S. are found in women younger than 45; breast cancer risk increases as women get older. Black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than white women, but are 41% more likely to die from the disease. About 170,000 people in the United States are living with metastatic breast cancer.
- For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
- Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2019, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
- In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower.
- As of January 2022, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
- About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%. Breast cancer that is positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations tends to develop more often in younger women. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6.8%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men.
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
- The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).