1. There will be an estimated 212,920 new cases of breast cancer and 61,980 deaths from the disease in 2006. The breast is the most common site of cancer in women, and breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women.The rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and human papillomavirus (HPV) are highest among female adolescents. Adolescents and females are biologically more susceptible to STIs, so as a college-age woman, you need to be especially careful.
2. The five-year relative survival rate for localized breast cancer has increased from 72 percent in the 1940s to 97 percent today. If the cancer has spread regionally, however, the rate is 78 percent, and for women with cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body, the rate is 23 percent.
3. Survival after a diagnosis of breast cancer continues to decline beyond five years. Ten-year survival and beyond is also stage-dependent, with the best survival observed in women with early-stage disease.
4. Well-known estrogen-related risks for developing breast cancer include: early menstruation (at age 12 or younger); late menopause (after age 55); and no full-term pregnancy or first child after age 30.
5. More than 80 percent of biopsied breast abnormalities are proven noncancerous, but any breast lump must be evaluated by a physician. New, less invasive biopsy procedures permit removal of breast tissue in a physician's or radiologist's office.
6. Sometimes more than one mammogram may be necessary to evaluate an abnormality. Common reasons for additional mammograms include film views that are unclear and/or different views requested by the radiologist.
7. Some mammography centers are able to provide immediate interpretation of your mammogram. This service can help prevent anxiety caused by waiting days to hear your results. Any additional films required also can be taken during the same visit.
8. The annual risk of a 70-year-old woman being diagnosed with breast cancer is three times that of a 40-year-old woman, and she has five times the risk of dying from breast cancer.
© 2006 National Women’s Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC) All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the NWHRC. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: www.healthywomen.org.