One in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
In about 60 percent of these cases, the cancer is detected before it has spread beyond the breast. Close to 100 percent — actually, 98.6 percent — of these women have not died five years later. But if the cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes when it is discovered, the five-year survival rate drops to 25.9 percent.
In the United States today, there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors — the largest group of cancer survivors.
The breast-cancer death rate decreased by 34 percent from 1990 to 2010, most likely because of earlier detection and more effective care.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women ages 50 to 74 years get a mammogram every two years. Younger women should ask their doctors for advice based on their circumstances. Early menstruation (before age 12) and a family history of breast cancer, for example, increase your risk.
Having your first child at an older age; never giving birth; menopause after 55; and being overweight or obese, particularly around the waistline, also up your chances of getting breast cancer. So does downing more than one alcoholic drink a day.
There are lots of crazy myths about breast cancer. It is not caused by wearing underwire bras, implants, deodorants or antiperspirants, mammograms, caffeine, plastic food serving items, microwaves, or cell phones.
The number of breast cancer cases is rising in poorer countries as women live longer, and adopt more sedentary lifestyles.
Some other things you might not know about women’s health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
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October 12, 2015
Janet O’Dell, RN