by Dr. Sharon Orrange
In support of Breast Cancer Awareness:
- About 12% of women develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Although breast cancer in men is rare, about 2,000 American men are diagnosed each year with invasive breast cancer.
- Deaths from breast cancer have declined significantly since the 1990s, especially for women younger than age 50.
- In the United States, there are currently more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors.
- Having a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who has breast cancer doubles your risk for developing breast cancer.
- Women have been encouraged to perform breast self-examination each month, but studies have reported no difference in mortality rates between women who do self-examination and those who do not. This does not mean women should stop doing self-examinations, but they should not replace the annual examination done by a health professional.
- Dense breast tissue is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. Studies suggest that women with highly dense tissue have 2 - 6 times the risk of women with the least dense tissue.
- Some common benign breast abnormalities that pose very little or no risks for breast cancer include: cysts, fibroadenomas, nipple discharge (discharge from the nipple is an unlikely sign of cancer but still warrants evaluation) and mastalgia (breast pain that occurs in association with, or independently from, the menstrual cycle.)
- Fifty percent of breast masses are found in the upper outer quarter of the breast.
- Breast cancers in their early stages are usually painless, produce no symptoms and cannot be felt on examination. Hence, the mammogram!
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