Every year, over 42,000 people (the vast majority are women) lose their lives to breast cancer.
This means that, unfortunately, there’s a good chance you know someone who has been affected by breast cancer in some way. Perhaps even you or a close family member are concerned about breast cancer or have been recently diagnosed with it. With so many conflicting facts about cancer out there, it can be difficult to know what to believe. In this post, we’re sharing some of the most important breast cancer facts that you need to know.
We hope this list will inspire you to go get a screening for yourself and encourage other people to do the same.
1. It Affects Women More Than Men
While it likely won’t come as a surprise that breast cancer is much more a threat to women than men, many people aren’t aware of just how serious the threat of breast cancer is for women. To give you an understanding of just how much more women are at risk than men, studies show that women have a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer, while men have only one out of eight-hundred.
That’s why women should make a yearly mammogram a part of their standard medical routine.
2. Your Family History May or May Not Matter
One of the most shocking facts about breast cancer is that your family history may not play as much of a role as many think. In fact, roughly 80% of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Women, with or without a family history of breast cancer, should take their yearly mammograms seriously.
After all, if your mother, daughter, or even your sister has had it, you’ll be twice as likely to receive a positive diagnosis. Still, the leading indications of whether or not you’ll have breast cancer are your age and your gender.
3. Exercise is Important
The alarming information revealed by breast cancer statistics may lead you to believe that there’s very little you can do to lower your risk of developing breast cancer. Actually, there are still small changes you could make to lower your risk.
First, make sure you get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise of any type and intensity each week. That might seem like a lot, but it averages out to less than 22 minutes per day (30 minutes a day if you exercise 5 days/week).
In addition to lowering your risk for ever developing breast cancer, exercise may also be able to help breast cancer survivors lower their risk of a relapse. A healthy diet — especially one that’s focused on lowering your alcohol intake — also plays a role in potentially lowering your risk of developing breast cancer.
4. You Are the First Line of Defense
One of the most essential facts about cancer to commit to memory is that **you** are often just as important as advanced detection equipment at noticing the signs of early breast cancer. That’s why you need to conduct a self breast-examination roughly once every month. Study up on this post to understand how to do a thorough self-exam.
In extreme cases, some women may also opt to get a double mastectomy if they’ve been diagnosed or at high risk. This is an option for women who have a family history of breast cancer or who already have early cancer in one or both breasts. Speak to your doctor about your options if you feel you fall into this category
5. 3D Mammograms are More Effective
In traditional digital mammograms, a two-dimensional x-ray is taken of your breasts in order to look for lumps and other abnormalities. For several years, breast tomosynthesis, commonly called a 3D mammogram, has been available. 3D is more effective than 2D since 3D finds smaller cancers, when they can be treated more easily, and there are fewer false positives. 3D is also considered a better option for women with higher amounts of breast tissue (also called “dense breasts”).
6.When Caught Early, There Is A High Survival Rate
Many people fear that breast cancer is nearly always a fatal disease, making it difficult for them to remain hopeful and positive about their future after a diagnosis.
We’re happy to report that the reality is quite different. Especially now that all health care plans pay for women over 40 to have a mammogram every year, and the new tests and equipment that can detect and understand a potential problem earlier than ever before, plus increasingly effective treatment options, 90% of women diagnosed with cancer have at least a five-year rate of survival.
On the other hand, a growing concern is the women who choose to skip their annual mammogram on occasion. Sadly, when a delayed mammogram results in a delayed diagnosis, the cancer has a chance to grow and become more dangerous. While doctors can often treat these larger cancers, more invasive treatments are more disruptive to a woman’s life.
7. Some Women Are More at Risk Than Others
Finally, know that some women are more likely to be at a higher risk for breast cancer because of their ethnic background. For example, women who are white and non-Hispanic are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer, yet Hispanic and African-American women have a higher proportion of breast cancers that have advanced to later stages. This may be due in part to lower utilization of mammography in underserved communities, or delays in treatment.
Additionally, women with an Ashkenazi background are more likely to have the BRCA gene mutation that causes cancer. If your background puts you at a higher risk, you may need to begin screenings for breast cancer at a younger age.
Have These Facts About Cancer Inspired You to Get a Mammogram?
If you’re due (or overdue!) we hope you think seriously about getting a mammogram in the coming weeks. The good news? You don’t have to go to a hospital affiliated center to get screened for cancer.
Instead, you can get screened at PINK for the most advanced detection available, the lowest radiation, the least compression, and a more pleasant experience. We strive to make you more relaxed at the PINK Breast Center. While no one enjoys thinking about breast cancer, it is our goal to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
Reach out to PINK to book your appointment today.