After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. About every three minutes, a woman somewhere in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer.
In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases will be diagnosed in American women. About 2,140 cases will be detected in men. Breast cancer is second leading cause of cancer death in women; lung cancer is number one. In 2011, approximately 39,520 women and 450 men will die of the disease.
An individual woman's odds of developing breast cancer depends on her age, as well as other specific risk factors,
such as ethnicity, genetics and hormonal factors, including the age of menstruation and menopause. Statistics show that an American woman living to the age of 85 has a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer sometime in her life. The risk is not evenly spread over a women's lifetime. For example, a 25-year-old woman has a lifetime risk of one in eight, but her current risk is only one in 19,608.
More than three in four cases of breast cancer occur in women older than 50.
Annual screening mammography allows breast cancer to be detected at an earlier stage when it is smaller. Most experts still agree that women 50 years and older should continue to have annual mammograms.
The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute continue to recommend screening beginning at age 40.