American Women Have a One in Eight Chance of Developing Breast Cancer in Their Lifetime

American Women Have a One in Eight Chance of Developing Breast Cancer in Their Lifetime


According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women except for skin cancers. There is a one in eight chance a woman will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.


The ACS estimates that this year there will be 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women living in the United States. About 48,530 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS), which is noninvasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer, will be diagnosed; and about 42,170 women will die from breast cancer.


Breast cancer develops when cells in breast tissue change and divide uncontrolled, typically resulting in a lump or mass. Most breast cancers begin in the lobules (milk glands) or in the ducts that connect the lobules to the nipple.


“Breast cancer typically has no symptoms if the tumor is small, which is why screening is important for early detection,” states Tina Gaunt, MD, ARH OB-  GYN Specialist.  “The most common physical sign is a painless lump.”


Gaunt encourages women who have a family history of breast cancer and those 45 or older to have a mammogram screening.


“Breast cancer is typically detected during a mammogram screening,” says Dr. Gaunt.  “Most masses seen on a mammogram and most breast lumps turn out to be benign (not cancerous). However, when cancer is suspected, tissue for microscopic analysis is usually obtained from a needle biopsy.”


Early detection of breast cancer by mammography reduces the risk of breast cancer death and increases treatment options.


“It’s important to understand that most breast lumps are benign, but some types of benign breast lumps can increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer,” explains Dr. Gaunt.  “Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care professional to determine if it is benign or malignant (cancer).”


With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, ARH hospitals are offering a special $50 mammogram screening, including radiologist interpretation, for those paying with cash, check or credit cards during the month of October. You will need a mammogram screening order from your healthcare provider in order to schedule an appointment through ARH Radiology Departments.