According to the National Cancer Institute, over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in the United States last year.
While there continue to be remarkable advances in research and treatment, more women are diagnosed with breast cancer, but no one yet knows all the reasons why. Some of the increase can be traced to better ways of recognizing/detecting cancers in an early stage. The increase also may be the result of changes in the way we live — delaying childbirth, taking replacement hormones or birth control pills, eating high-fat foods, and/or drinking more alcohol.
The encouraging news is that more and more, breast cancer is being detected early, while the tumor is limited to the breast and very small. Currently, two-thirds of newly diagnosed breast cancers show no signs that the cancer has spread beyond the breast.
With early detection plus prompt and appropriate treatment, the outlook is very good for women with breast cancer.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that beginning at age 40 all women should have clinical breast exam and screening.