Breast Cancer Breast Cancer
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early. If you are age 40 years or older, get a mammogram every one to two years.
Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
Breast cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women and the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
According to the National Cancer Institute estimates for the United States, in 2007 there will be:
• 180,510 new breast cancer cases (178,480 female, 2,030 male)
• 40,910 breast cancer deaths (40,460 female, 450 male).
Ways You Can Help Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer
• Control your weight and exercise. Make healthy choices in the foods you eat and the kinds of drinks you have each day. Stay active. To learn more about keeping a healthy weight and ways to increase your physical activity, visit CDC’s Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity and MyPyramid.gov.
• Know your family history of breast cancer. If you have a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer, ask your doctor what is your risk of getting breast cancer and how you can lower your risk.
• Find out the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy on developing breast cancer. Some women use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat the symptoms of menopause. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of HRT and find out if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
• Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
Screening and Early Detection
Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breast for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease. Three main tests are used to screen the breast for cancer. Talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
• Mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. If you are age 40 years or older, be sure to have a screening mammogram every one to two years.
• Clinical breast exam. A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.
• Breast self-exam. A breast self-exam is when you check your own breasts for lumps, changes in size or shape of the breast, or any other changes in the breasts or underarm (armpit).
Which tests to choose: Having a clinical breast exam or a breast self-exam has not been found to decrease risk of dying from breast cancer. Keep in mind that, at this time, the best way to find breast cancer is with a mammogram. If you choose to have clinical breast exams and to perform breast self-exams, be sure you also get regular mammograms.