Cancer Risks in Each Age Group

PJ Hamel Health Guide September 30, 2009
  • Looking for a quick, easy, and informative read? In observation of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re publishing a new breast cancer fact each day, 31 of them in all. Visit here regularly, and by the end of the month you’ll be a BC expert!

     

    •America's 3 million+ breast cancers survivors are the largest group of cancer survivors in the U.S. Here’s to the sisterhood!

     

    •Mammograms are the single most effective screening tool for detecting breast cancer in its early stages. As of 2004, the last time this was tracked, the highest screening rate was in Delaware; the lowest, in Idaho.

     

    •If you’re 20 years old, your chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years is 1 in 1,837.

     

    •Estimated new cases of breast cancer in the United States in 2008: 184,450, about one new diagnosis every 3 1/2 minutes.

     

    •Breast cancer is very rare in women under 40. From 2000-2004, 95% of new cases and 97% of breast cancer deaths occurred in women aged 40 and older.

     

    •If you’re 50 years old, your chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years is 1 in 50.

    •“Drinking coffee, using antiperspirant, having your hair straightened, or wearing an underwire bra or tight clothing can cause breast cancer.” These are common myths – urban legends –  unsupported by scientific evidence.

     

    •When breast cancer has grown large enough to be felt, the most common physical sign is a painless mass.

     

    •Alcohol consumption increases your breast cancer risk. Studies suggest that the equivalent of 2 drinks a day (24g of alcohol; two shots, or two 12-ounce beers) may increase breast cancer risk by 21%.

     

    •31% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed after the cancer has spread outside the breast (to regional lymph nodes, but not beyond). The 5-year relative survival rate for these cancers is 83.8%.

     

    •If you’re 30 years old, your chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years is 1 in 234.

    •The federal government spends more than $900 million each year on breast cancer research, treatment, and prevention.

     

    •Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer; and the second leading cause of cancer-related death (after lung cancer), in American women.

     

    •It’s estimated that 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are the result of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Less than 1% of the general population has these mutations. 

    •Based on rates from 2003-2005, just over 12% of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.

     

    •About 6 out of every 100 women will develop breast cancer between their 50th and 70th birthdays.

     

    •61% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed before the cancer has spread outside the breast; the 5-year relative survival rates for these cancers is 98.1%.

     

    •The majority of breast lumps women discover are not cancer. Of lumps that are biopsied, 80% are benign. So the vast majority of breast lumps are NOT breast cancer.

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    •On average, mammography will detect about 80%-90% of breast cancers in women without symptoms. 

    •If you’re 70 years old, your chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years is 1 in 26.

     

    •Barring a cure, an estimated 5 million Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the next 25 years. More than 1 million could die.

    •About 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no known risk factors for it at all. No family history, no damaged genes, no identifiable risk factors. Getting breast cancer is truly a role of the dice.

     

    •If you’re 40 years old, your chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years is 1 in 70.

     

    •The percentage of women aged 40 and older who report having had a mammogram within the past 2 years increased from 29% in 1987 to 70% in 2000, then decreased to 66% in 2005.

     

    •Breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in American women, following heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and other respiratory illnesses.

     

    •It’s estimated that approximately $8.1 billion is spent in the United States each year on breast cancer treatment.

     

    •The breast cancer diagnosis rate has increased since the early 1990s, due to more and better diagnostic screening; but the overall death rate from breast cancer has dropped – due to improved treatment.


    •If you’re 60 years old, your chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years is 1 in 28.

     

    •On January 1, 2005 (the last time the number was tallied), there were approximately 2,477,847 survivors of invasive breast cancer in the United States. In addition, there were about 610,171 survivors of non-invasive “in situ” breast cancers (DCIS and LCIS). That’s a total of over 3 million American breast cancer survivors – and the number grows each year.

     

    •Surveys show that women’s #1 health fear is breast cancer.