Education about the disease is increasing, and survival rates are climbing, as medical science focuses its attention on the disease more than ever before.
until the 1950's, the accepted mainstream medical treatment for breast cancer
was a total radical mastectomy. This included the removal of all of the breast tissue, muscle tissue underneath
the affected breast, and the lymph nodes on the side where
the cancer was discovered.
with these drastic measures, the survival rate was not impressive. With no good
way to detect the cancer (to remove it early enough to prevent the
spread to other organs), a diagnosis of breast cancer was considered terminal.
Today, treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and modified mastectomies - in which less tissue
is removed - has became the norm. Modern treatment for the earliest forms of the disease (stage 0 and
stage I breast cancer), is normally a lumpectomy, or removing just the cancer tissue followed
by chemo and/or radiation.
As a result, the survival rate for breast cancer, when it is diagnosed early, has
climbed. According to the American
Cancer Society (ACS), the 5-year survival rates for women with breast cancer
that are diagnosed and treated are:
for stage 0
for stage I
for stage IIA
for stage IIB
for stage IIIA
for stage IIIB
for stage IV
statistics -- showing higher survival rates in the early stages of breast cancer -- are the reason why medical professionals advise regular mammograms and doing monthly breast self examinations.
A map of US breast cancer clusters show increased risk in the industrial Northeast, and a compelling
argument for the role of environmental risk factors in the development of breast cancer.
Weight gain and increased alcohol consumption have all been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. While volumes have been written about a healthy lifestyle and cancer prevention, the message is still not getting out often enough to women about the role of diet and exercise in breast cancer prevention.
Today, breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death (after lung cancer) in American women.
Even with enormous strides in treatment and prevention in the last century, about 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among U.S. women this year, with approximately 39,000 dying from the disease.
DID YOU KNOW? - Surprising Facts about Breast Cancer
• There is no direct scientifically proven link between smoking and breast cancer in older women.
• Increased alcohol consumption may increase your chances of getting breast cancer by 21%.
• Wearing an under-wire bra, applying antiperspirants, or receiving breast implants are common myths about increasing the risk of breast cancer. All have been scientifically proven to be untrue.
• Men can
and do get breast cancer. Although the disease does not strike
men as often, when it does, it is usually much more difficult to treat.
The survival rate for men with this disease tends to be lower
since the diagnosis is usually at a later, less treatable
Learn more about the history of the disease, along with current research, related breast cancer pictures & images, where you can find clinical trials for cutting edge treatment, and the latest information on treatment and prevention:
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- The campaign now entering its second decade and offering a rich cache of free
educational resources in printable format, multimedia files, feature stories and
facts behind the month-long October event that aims to help increase awareness
and early detection.
(Breast Imaging, Mammogram) - Illustrated facts about the procedure that
is widely recommended as the first line of defense against breast cancer - including
preparation for the exam, details on mammography equipment and how it works, interpretation
of results, benefits and risks.
Breast Cancer Foundation - An outstanding job of dispelling
popular myths and providing clear facts on breast cancer symptoms,
disease stages and survival rates, along with story articles,
video news features, suggested reading and related links to
breast cancer awareness.