Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. Deaths from breast cancer have declined over time, but breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death.
According to BreastCancer.org, as of January 2021, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. Nearly one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and about 43,600 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2021 from breast cancer.
There are many risk factors for developing breast cancer. The CDC lists some: age (most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50), genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, reproductive history and exposure to hormones, obesity, family history of breast and ovarian cancer, previous radiation therapy, or exposure to certain recalled drugs.
These statistics are scary, but breast cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. BreastCancer.org also explains, “Death rates have been steady in women under 50 since 2007 but have continued to drop in women over 50. The overall death rate from breast cancer decreased by 1 percent per year from 2013 to 2018. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through screening.”
Staying on top of your breast health is easy and effective. Yearly mammograms, self-checking, testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and being aware of risk factors are each ways to be proactive about your health. Besides going to the doctor, you can make a positive change in your life to alleviate risk as well. Physical activity and a healthy diet lower risk for not only breast cancer, but most other diseases.
Don’t live in fear because of breast cancer looming around the corner. Do something. Be proactive.