breast cancer statistics

Home / Posts tagged "breast cancer statistics"
A Bouquet of Honors for Breast Cancer Awareness

A Bouquet of Honors for Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness Brings Autumn’s Bouquet

Among the multi-colors of Autumn this month is a beautiful streak of pink. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we honor victors in the battle against breast cancer, and cherish the memory of brave heroes we’ve lost. Women’s Health of Chicago supports survivors, many who’ve fought breast cancer multiple times, and now serve as activists, mentors, and tireless examples of how the battle might be won for all. While an update on the war against this disease is mixed with highs and lows, one thing remains constant: early detection is still our best weapon in the fight.

As an obstetrics and gynecology specialist, I’ve walked through diagnosis and treatment of this disease with close friends and patients.  Very few people I know remain untouched in some way by the fight for a cure. It’s a personal battle for me and many in my genetic family and patient family.

Rates of Detection and Survival in the Battle Against Breast Cancer

The survival rate for breast cancer has been growing since 1989. Survival rates among women under the age of fifty are even more encouraging than the national average. Treatment advances, earlier detection, and increased awareness are credited for this increase.

Float pink balloons for breast cancer awareness at women's healthThanks to awareness and screening, rates of detection have been on the rise.  Earlier detection uncovers more cases of breast cancer annually – about 307,000 this year or one in eight women.  Cures for Stage I Breast Cancer approach 95% nationally, and that’s great news.  Not only does early detection increase rates of survival, women who maintain a recommended mammography schedule undergo less invasive treatment at lower cost. Consult your gynecologist for advice on how regularly you schedule a mammogram based on your age, family history, and genetic risk factors.

Unfortunately, advances in detection and treatment haven’t impacted all women evenly.  Black women receive breast cancer diagnoses at younger ages and survival rates are lower than those for white women.  The data suggests that breast cancer may exact a greater economic and family toll on black women than even Asian or Latino women. The median age at diagnosis is 58 for black women and 62 for white women.

The data for the report was obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute, a program that has been collecting information on cancer patients since 1973.

Feel Something, Say Something

In addition to mammograms, we stress the importance of patients trusting their own familiarity with their bodies. Whether it’s a lump or an inclination that something is wrong, follow through and get it checked. You may learn your concern is unfounded, or examination may lead in a totally different direction.  However, act on this instinct, because it’s a common trait among women who discover breast cancer early.

A Strong Network of Support

No one should battle this disease alone. Agencies and support groups are working to raise funds to increase breast cancer awareness and research.  Learn more about how you can donate, get involved, or find your own support group, by reaching out to the American Cancer Society, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, or Susan G. Koman for the Cure.

What You Should Do During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer awareness inspires and motivates women to action. No matter your age, if it’s been longer than 12 months since your last mammogram, schedule your physical examination and mammogram as soon as possible. If you’ve had your mammogram, encourage a loved one or co-worker to schedule their annual exam. You could be the difference in another life saved.

The Fight Against Breast Cancer: A New Milestone

The Fight Against Breast Cancer: A New Milestone

Last October, Tara Parker-Pope’s article in the New York Times “Well” Section highlighted a troubling milestone in the decades-long rise in breast cancer in African American Women.  In fact, incedence of breast cancer has been on a steady rise for the past quarter century due to a complex array of trends, both nationally, and in African American communities.

A Breast Cancer Milestone We Can Reverse!

Here’s an excerpt from Tara Parker-Pope, A Grim Breast Cancer Milestone for Black Women, New York Times, Well, October 29, 2015.

“It is a crisis,” said Marc Hurlbert, chief mission officer for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “The increasing incidence is unfortunate because the mortality rate for black women is already so much higher, and now if more women are getting breast cancer, then unfortunately, the number of black women dying from the disease will go up.”

Over all, the report painted a grim picture of the state of breast cancer in African-American women, showing that advances in diagnosis and treatment that have sharply improved survival rates from breast cancer and saved countless lives have largely bypassed African-American women. By virtually every measure of the disease — age of diagnosis, age of death, stage of diagnosis — black women are at a significant disadvantage compared with white women, the data show.  (End excerpt.)

The Importance of Early Detection

Breast Cancer Milestone in the African American CommunityI’m particularly sensitive to this statistical milestone as a women’s health specialist fighting against this trend by empowering women to schedule annual mammograms with their physical exam. My message is simple: take early detection of breast cancer seriously.  My work in under-served communities brings me face to face with the real-life dynamics complicating even the simplest steps toward early detection. Yet, I’m hopeful that by keeping the message front and center, we might reverse this troubling trend and the higher rates of mortality that accompany it.

No matter your age, if it’s been longer than 12 months since your last mammogram, you should schedule your physical examination and mammogram as soon as possible.  There’s no better way to celebrate your birthday than to schedule your annual check-up and mammogram at around the same time.

(Excerpted and paraphrased from Tara Parker-Pope, A Grim Breast Cancer Milestone for Black Women, New York Times, Well, October 29, 2015.)

The reasons for the increase in breast cancer rates are complex and are thought to be driven largely by rising obesity rates among African-American women. Researchers also believe that changes in reproductive patterns may play a role, as more African-American women delay childbirth and have fewer children. Both are recognized risk factors for breast cancer.

Black women are given breast cancer diagnoses at younger ages and die from the disease at younger ages than white women, suggesting that the disease may exact a greater economic and family toll on blacks by stealing more of a woman’s most productive years. The median age at diagnosis is 58 for black women and 62 for white women. The median age for breast cancer death is 62 for black women and 68 for white women.

The data for the report was obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute, a program that has been collecting information on cancer patients since 1973.

For more background on breast cancer trends in the African American community, read a previous article by Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times article.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/03/the-breast-cancer-racial-gap/?login=email

For more information about the research behind this milestone, read her full article here.

Don’t put off scheduling your next annual physical and mammogram. At Women’s Health of Chicago, we can do both right here in the same office, often without having to schedule a separate appointment.  It could be a matter of life and death for our sisters and loved ones.  Spread the word!