The female breasts are composed of lobules (glands that produce milk); ducts (thin tubes that transport milk from the lobules to the nipple); and fatty tissue, connective tissue, lymph nodes, and blood vessels. Both men and women can develop breast cancer. Cancer forms when breast cells grow out of control and form tumors.

Who Gets Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer among American women. About one in eight U.S. women, or 12%, develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime in the U.S. alone. About 1 in every 1,000 men are at risk of breast cancer.

This year, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 246,660 new cases of invasive breast and about 61,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS), a non-invasive form of the disease, will be diagnosed among women. Though rare for men to get breast cancer, about 2,600 cases of male breast cancer is predicted.

In women younger than 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women are at a lower risk for developing breast cancer. Meanwhile, while incidence rates remain stable among white women, numbers have slightly increased among African-American women.

In addition to gender and ethnicity, other factors that impact breast cancer risk include: increasing age, a mutation in a BRCA gene, family history of breast cancer, dense breast tissue, early menstruation or late menopause, and certain breast diseases. Other factors include: taking oral birth control, combined hormone therapy after menopause, taking the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES), undergoing radiation therapy in the chest, not having children or having a first child after age 30, alcohol consumption; smoking, being overweight, and lack of exercise.

Breast Cancer Survival, Death Rates

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer according to the ACS.

The society estimates that about 40,450 women and 440 men will likely die of breast cancer in 2016, but significantly more patients will defeat the disease. In fact, breast cancer deaths have been declining annually since about 1989, especially among women under age 50. Regular screenings, early detection and better treatments are credited for improved prognosis.

It is estimated there are currently more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States alone.

According to the ACS:

  • The 5-year relative survival rate for women with stage 0 or stage I breast cancer is close to 100%.
  • For women with stage II breast cancer, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 93%.
  • The 5-year relative survival rate for stage III breast cancers is about 72%. But often, women with these breast cancers can be successfully treated.
  • Breast cancers that have spread to other parts of the body are more difficult to treat and tend to have a poorer outlook. Metastatic, or stage IV breast cancers, have a 5-year relative survival rate of about 22%. Still, there are often many treatment options available for women with this stage of breast cancer.

Note: Breast Cancer News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.