What is breast cancer?

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Cancer is a word that describes a wide range of similar diseases.

Cancer is a word that describes a wide range of similar diseases. There are over 100 different types of cancer, but they all have a lot in common. Primarily, all cancers are an extreme growth of abnormal cells that your body can’t stop or destroy. These cell growths can spread from one part of the body to another, and they destroy normal, healthy cells.

Cancer cells often form a lump called a tumor, but the word ‘tumor’ does not always mean cancer, or malignant. Some tumors are benign, or noncancerous.

Quick Facts

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and worldwide.1 Cancer that first begins to grow within the breast is called breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer diagnosed in women, after skin cancer.2

1 in 8

It’s estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life, and for men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 833.3

Statistics about breast cancer in the United States1

+1.8 MILLION

cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 20204

1 in 8

women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year5

+3.5 MILLION

living breast cancer survivors in the U.S.6

20/100,000

women die from breast cancer each year6

90% OF PEOPLE

diagnosed with breast cancer survive for 5 years or more after diagnosis6

References

  1. Cancer statistics. National Cancer Institute. Updated September 25, 2020. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics
  2. Breast cancer. WebMD. Updated June 8, 2020. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/understanding-breast-cancer-basics
  3. Key statistics for breast cancer in men. American Cancer Society. Updated January 8, 2020. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men/. about/key-statistics.html
  4. Cancer Statistics Center. American Cancer Society. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://cancerstatisticscenter.cancer.org/#!/
  5. How common is breast cancer. American Cancer Society. Updated January 12, 2021. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breast-cancer.html
  6. Breast. American Cancer Society. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://cancerstatisticscenter.cancer.org/#!/cancer-site/Breast
  7. Cancer staging. National Cancer Institute. Published March 9, 2015. Accessed January 12, 2021. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/diagnosis-staging/staging
  8. Glossary: definitions & phonetic pronunciations. American Cancer Society. Accessed January 12, 2021. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerglossary/index

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