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About 1 in 8 women in the United States (between 12 and 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. women In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 54,010 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. About 1,970 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in 2010. Less than 1% of all new breast cancer cases occur in men. From 1999 to 2006, breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. decreased by about 2% per year. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk. About 39,840 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2010 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1991. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness. 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 U.S. women. More than 1 in 4 cancers in women (about 28%) are breast cancer. Compared to African American, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer, but less likely to die of it. One possible reason is that African American women tend to have more aggressive tumors, although why this is the case is not known. Women of other ethnic backgrounds Asian, Hispanic, and Native American have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer than white women and African American women. In 2010, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. A woman s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 20-30% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of breast cancer. About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations (abnormal changes) inherited from one s mother or father. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. Women with these mutations have up to an 80% risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, and they are more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age (before menopause). An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, about 1 in 10 breast cancers are believed to be due to BRCA2 mutations and even fewer cases to BRCA1 mutations. About 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic abnormalities 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).
including breast cancer. A low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables is generally recommended. when the ovaries stop producing the hormone. Exercise. which in turn can increase risk. visit our page on healthy eating to reduce cancer risk in the Nutrition section. and studies show that eating a lot of red and/or processed meats is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. and ice cream). antibiotics. Fat tissue is the body¶s main source of estrogen after menopause. which can increase breast cancer risk. The American Cancer Society recommends engaging in 45-60 minutes of physical exercise 5 or more days a week. Be sure to talk with your doctor about all of your possible risk factors for breast cancer. For more information. and your doctor can help you come up with a plan. such as age. This can influence recommendations about breast cancer screening ² what tests to have and when to start having them.Breast Cancer Risk Factors y y Email to a friend Print Page last modified on: November 25. Evidence is growing that exercise can reduce breast cancer risk. Diet. Having more fat tissue means having higher estrogen levels. there are some risk factors you can control. such as weight. milk. It¶s a good idea to restrict sources of red meat and other animal fats (including dairy fat in cheese. Smoking. Alcohol can limit your liver¶s ability to control blood levels of the hormone estrogen. Alcohol consumption. physical activity. Many of the most important risk factors for breast cancer are beyond your control. Studies have shown that breast cancer risk increases with the amount of alcohol a woman drinks. . Risk factors you can control Weight. There may be steps you can take to lower your risk of breast cancer. Some researchers believe that eating too much cholesterol and other fats are risk factors for cancer. other growth factors. because they may contain hormones. so that he or she has an accurate understanding of your level of breast cancer risk. and alcohol consumption. Your doctor also needs to be aware of any other risk factors beyond your control. Being overweight is associated with increased risk of breast cancer. especially for women after menopause. family history. and medical history. but studies have yet to show for sure which types of foods increase risk. Diet is a suspected risk factor for many types of cancer. Smoking is associated with a small increase in breast cancer risk. and pesticides. However. 2008 A ³risk factor´ is anything that increases your risk of developing breast cancer.
Race. Risk factors you can¶t control Gender. . Family history of breast cancer. Simply growing older is the second biggest risk factor for breast cancer. such as: y y y taking combined hormone replacement therapy (estrogen and progesterone. and prayer) may be valuable additions to your daily or weekly routine. Although men can get breast cancer. From age 30 to 39. Because the female hormone estrogen stimulates breast cell growth. yoga. the risk is 1 in 233. visualization exercises. Radiation therapy to the chest. Some of these risk factors are under your control. HRT) for several years or more. If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer. Hispanic. Having radiation therapy to the chest area as a child or young adult as treatment for another cancer significantly increases breast cancer risk. There is no clear proof that stress and anxiety can increase breast cancer risk.43%. or you have multiple relatives affected by breast or ovarian cancer (especially before they turned age 50). That jumps to 1 in 27.Exposure to estrogen. and satisfaction can have a major effect on your quality of life. is higher than if you never had the disease. sister) who has had breast cancer. either in the same breast or the other breast. your risk of developing it again. or taking estrogen alone for more than 10 years being overweight regularly drinking alcohol Recent oral contraceptive use. This activity puts them at much greater risk for breast cancer. you could be at higher risk of getting breast cancer. daughter. women¶s breast cells are constantly changing and growing. joy. anything you can do to reduce your stress and to enhance your comfort. exposure to estrogen over long periods of time. Being a woman is the most significant risk factor for developing breast cancer. can increase the risk of breast cancer. The increase in risk seems to be highest if the radiation was given while the breasts were still developing (during the teen years). mainly due to the activity of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. without any breaks. Age. and Native American women have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer. by the time you are in your 60s. White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are African American women. Asian. Some research suggests that these practices can strengthen the immune system. Women who stopped using oral contraceptives more than 10 years ago do not appear to have any increased breast cancer risk. but only for a limited period of time. or . So-called ³mindful measures´ (such as meditation. too. If you have a first-degree relative (mother. However. Using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) appears to slightly increase a woman¶s risk for breast cancer. Personal history of breast cancer. Stress and anxiety. or almost 4%.
breastfeeding for this long is neither possible nor practical. The genes are in each cell¶s nucleus. and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. can increase the risk of breast cancer. which produce estrogen-like substances when broken down by the body) Pregnancy and breastfeeding. Unusual changes in breast cells found during a breast biopsy (removal of suspicious tissue for examination under a microscope) can be a risk factor for developing breast cancer. Some of these risk factors are not under your control. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order. Women whose mothers took DES during pregnancy may have a higher risk of breast cancer as well. or abnormal changes. in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. Left unchecked. But over time. without any breaks. Women who have never had a full-term pregnancy. Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. Because the female hormone estrogen stimulates breast cell growth. Pregnancy and breastfeeding reduce the overall number of menstrual cycles in a woman¶s lifetime. mutations can ³turn on´ certain genes and ³turn off´ others in a cell. A tumor can be benign (not dangerous to health) or malignant (has the potential to be dangerous). used to prevent miscarriage from the 1940s through the 1960s. These changes include overgrowth of cells (called hyperplasia) or abnormal (atypical) appearance. breastfeeding may slightly lower their breast cancer risk. Exposure to estrogen. For women who do have children. have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. or had their first full-term pregnancy after age 30. such as: y y y starting menstruation (monthly periods) at a young age (before age 12) going through menopause (end of monthly cycles) at a late age (after 55) exposure to estrogens in the environment (such as hormones in meat or pesticides such as DDT. Cancer occurs as a result of mutations.Breast cellular changes. malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body. which acts as the ³control room´ of each cell. Women who took a medication called diethylstilbestrol (DES). For many women. producing more cells just like it and forming a tumor. and this appears to reduce future breast cancer risk. it helps to understand how any cancer can develop. Normally. they grow slowly. To better understand breast cancer. Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance. DES exposure. especially if they continue breastfeeding for 1 1/2 to 2 years. the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. have an increased risk of breast cancer. exposure to estrogen over long periods of time. . Malignant tumors are cancerous. however.
The term ³breast cancer´ refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues. small organs that filter out foreign substances in the body. they then have a pathway into other parts of the body. which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast. While there are steps every person can take to help the body stay as healthy as possible (such as eating a balanced diet. only 5-10% of cancers are due to an abnormality inherited from your mother or father. not smoking. Breast cancer is always caused by a genetic abnormality (a ³mistake´ in the genetic material). is not productive. the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. limiting alcohol. The breast cancer¶s stage refers to how far the cancer cells have spread beyond the original tumor (see Stages of Breast Cancer table for more information). breast cancer is never anyone's fault. or the ducts. Breast Anatomy y Larger Version Over time. About 90% of breast cancers are due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and the ³wear and tear´ of life in general. cancer cells can invade nearby healthy breast tissue and make their way into the underarm lymph nodes. Stages of Breast . which are the milkproducing glands. If cancer cells get into the lymph nodes. Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules. Less commonly. However. and exercising regularly). Feeling guilty. or telling yourself that breast cancer happened because of something you or anyone else did.
AND no lymph nodes are involved . there is no evidence of cancer cells or non-cancerous abnormal cells breaking out of the part of the breast in which they started. The purpose of the staging system is to help organize the different factors and some of the personality features of the cancer into categories. in order to: y y y best understand your prognosis (the most likely outcome of the disease) guide treatment decisions (together with other parts of your pathology report). such as DCIS and LCIS.y Larger Version Cancer stage is based on the size of the tumor. In stage 0. and whether the cancer has spread beyond the breast. so that results of your treatment can be compared and understood Stage 0 Stage 0 is used to describe non-invasive breast cancers. whether the cancer is invasive or non-invasive. or of getting through to or invading neighboring normal tissue. since clinical studies of breast cancer treatments that you and your doctor will consider are partly organized by the staging system provide a common way to describe the extent of breast cancer for doctors and nurses all over the world. Stage I Stage I describes invasive breast cancer (cancer cells are breaking through to or invading neighboring normal tissue) in which: y y the tumor measures up to 2 centimeters. whether lymph nodes are involved.
if there is a tumor. it may be any size and may have spread to the chest wall and/or the skin of the breast. and IIIC.Stage II Stage II is divided into subcategories known as IIA and IIB. or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone Inflammatory breast cancer is considered at least stage IIIB. OR the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters and has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes Stage IIB describes invasive breast cancer in which: y y the tumor is larger than 2 but no larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes. OR the tumor is 5 centimeters or smaller and has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures. or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone. Stage IIIA describes invasive breast cancer in which either: y y y no tumor is found in the breast. OR the tumor measures 2 centimeters or less and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes. AND the cancer may have spread to axillary lymph nodes or to lymph nodes near the breastbone . but cancer cells are found in the axillary lymph nodes (the lymph nodes under the arm). OR the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters and has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures Stage IIIB describes invasive breast cancer in which: y y y the tumor may be any size and has spread to the chest wall and/or skin of the breast AND may have spread to axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures. Stage IIA describes invasive breast cancer in which: y y y no tumor can be found in the breast. Cancer is found in axillary lymph nodes that are clumped together or sticking to other structures. Stage IIIC describes invasive breast cancer in which: y y y there may be no sign of cancer in the breast or. OR the tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes Stage III Stage III is divided into subcategories known as IIIA. AND the cancer has spread to lymph nodes above or below the collarbone. IIIB.
even though this is the first diagnosis of breast cancer.usually the lungs. bone. the larger the tumor and/or the more it may have grown into the breast tissue. You may hear the cancer described by three characteristics: y y y size (T stands for tumor) lymph node involvement (N stands for node) whether it has metastasized (M stands for metastasis) The T (size) category describes the original (primary) tumor: y y y y TX means the tumor can't be measured or found.Stage IV Stage IV describes invasive breast cancer in which: y the cancer has spread to other organs of the body -. Although these terms are not medically precise (they may be used differently by different doctors)." or "advanced" stage breast cancer. liver. T0 means there isn't any evidence of the primary tumor. The higher the T number. or brain "Metastatic at presentation" means that the breast cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes. . Tis means the cancer is "in situ" (the tumor has not started growing into the breast tissue). The reason for this is that the primary breast cancer was not found when it was only inside the breast. Metastatic cancer is considered stage IV. The most common system is the TNM staging system. Additional staging information You may also hear terms such as "early" or "earlier" stage. "later. here is a general idea of how they apply to the official staging system: Early stage y y y y Stage 0 Stage I Stage II Some stage III Later or advanced stage y y Other stage III Stage IV Doctors use a staging system to determine how far a cancer has spread. The numbers T1-T4 describe the size and/or how much the cancer has grown into the breast tissue.
M0 breast cancer would mean that the primary breast tumor: y y y is less than 2 centimeters across (T1) does not have lymph node involvement (N0) has not spread to distant parts of the body (M0) This cancer would be grouped as a stage I ca Breast profile: A Ducts B Lobules C Dilated section of duct to hold milk D Nipple E Fat F Pectoralis major muscle G Chest wall/rib cage Enlargement A Normal duct cells B Basement membrane C Lumen (center of duct) . For example. Once the pathologist knows your T. N0. and/or the number of lymph nodes involved. M1 means that distant metastases were found. The M (metastasis) category tells whether there are distant metastases (whether the cancer has spread to other parts of body): y y y MX means metastasis can't be measured or found.The N (node involvement) category describes whether or not the cancer has reached nearby lymph nodes: y y y NX means the nearby lymph nodes can't be measured or found. the more the lymph nodes are involved. and an overall stage is assigned. M0 means there are no distant metastases. location. N. they are combined in a process called stage grouping. The higher the N number. and M characteristics. N0 means nearby lymph nodes do not contain cancer. a T1. The numbers N1-N3 describe the size.
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