The Truth About Breast Cancer

Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, but I am a woman and the following facts about breast cancer are alarming, real, and derived from scholarly articles including the websites for CDC, Susan G Komen, and BrightPink to name a few. At the end of these dozen statistics, you will find additional resources for self examination and symptoms to look for. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, please consult a physician immediately.

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. The U.S. is among the highest rate of diagnoses.

  • In 2018, an estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer
  • About 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2018. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone.
  • About 40,920 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2018 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989. Women under 50 have experienced larger decreases. 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.
  • 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 2018, there are more than 3.1 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.
  • About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations (abnormal changes) inherited from one’s mother or father. 85% of cases are not linked to a hereditary source.
  • The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).

The following resources are brought to you by BrightPink*, the only organization dedicated to both breast cancer and ovarian cancer awareness in women.

5 Questions to ask your doctor:

Tell me about the risk factors for breast cancer.

What is our plan for prevention and screening of breast and other cancers?

What lifestyle changes could I make to reduce my risks?

Should I see specialists to reduce my risk?

What symptoms do I need to watch out for?

Be sure to get screened on a regular basis and know and listen to your body. We, as women, tend to internalize pain and symptoms and ignore them while taking care of everyone else. With statistics like these, it is crucial that we take care of ourselves and meet with our doctor on a regular basis. Be your own advocate.

Get Screened,

Nerissa, the BizEMillenial

*BrightPink has connected with jewelry company KEEP COLLECTIVE for the past four years to bring a meaningful set of awareness jewelry to the general public while KEEP donated 20% back to the organization for their continued research and work. Over $100,000 has been donated each year. Join in the fight against breast cancer while creating a meaningful gift for yourself or someone else. I proudly wear my pink ribbon all through October and throughout the year.

About the author:

Nerissa is a wife and mom of 4 and is originally from VA and now lives in LA. She enjoys reading, traveling, and helping others find the beauty within their stories.

Here’s some ways you can show awareness and support.