Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.
Each year in the United States, more than 245,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease. See detailed statistics. Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.
There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include—
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood).
- A new lump in the breast or underarm.
If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.
Some main factors that influence your risk for breast cancer include—
- Being a woman.
- Being older (most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older).
- Having changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
Most women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors and no history of the disease in their families. There are things you can do to can help lower your breast cancer risk.
Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about breast cancer screening.