“As with many other diseases, your risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older. About two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older”.1

Umbrella
What may the Breast Cancer Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Cancer of the Breast
  • Ductal Carcinoma

Definition

What is breast cancer?

DotS the definition of breast cancer may vary. The (United States) National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) definition:

“Breast Cancer
Cancer that forms in tissues of the breast”.2

The (United States) Breastcancer.org’s definition is:

“Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells”.3

Types

What are common types of breast cancer?

The NCI explain:

“The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma, which begins in the lining of the milk ducts (thin tubes that carry milk from the lobules of the breast to the nipple). Another type of breast cancer is lobular carcinoma, which begins in the lobules (milk glands) of the breast. Invasive breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread from where it began in the breast ducts or lobules to surrounding normal tissue. Breast cancer occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare”.4

Common or Not

How common is breast cancer?

According to the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF) “… (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) in 2018, the latest year available”5, in Worldwide Cancer Data: Global Cancer Statistics for the Most Common Cancers – Global Cancer Incidence In Women the WCRF state:

  • “Breast cancer was the most common cancer in women worldwide, contributing 25.4% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018”.6

In the United States according to the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

“Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States (some kinds of skin cancer are the most common). Black women and white women get breast cancer at about the same rate, but black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women”.7

In the United Kingdom according to the (United Kingdom) NHS (National Health Service):

“Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer”.8

Cardiovascular Disease

Is cardiovascular disease the number one killer of women, killing more women than breast cancer?

Yes. In Resources for Women the World Heart Federation note:

“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer of women, with over 2 million premature deaths every year. This represents one-third of all deaths, and CVD kills more women than cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined”.9

Risk Factors

In women, what are risk factors for breast cancer?

In Breast Cancer Risk Factors Breastcancer.org elaborate on established and emerging breast cancer risk factors explaining:

“Every woman wants to know what she can do to lower her risk of breast cancer. Some of the factors associated with breast cancer — being a woman, your age, and your genetics, for example — can’t be changed. Other factors — being overweight, lack of exercise, smoking cigarettes, and eating unhealthy food — can be changed by making choices. By choosing the healthiest lifestyle options possible, you can empower yourself and make sure your breast cancer risk is as low as possible”.10

In Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ)–Patient Version: General Information About Breast Cancer — A Family History of Breast Cancer and Other Factors Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer the NCI elaborate on these and more risk factors for breast cancer:

“Risk factors for breast cancer include the following:

  • A personal history of invasive breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
  • A personal history of benign (noncancer) breast disease
  • A family history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative (mother, daughter, or sister)
  • Inherited changes in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes or in other genes that increase the risk of breast cancer
  • Breast tissue that is dense on a mammogram
  • Exposure of breast tissue to estrogen made by the body. This may be caused by:
    • Menstruating at an early age
    • Older age at first birth or never having given birth
    • Starting menopause at a later age
  • Taking hormones such as estrogen combined with progestin for symptoms of menopause.
  • Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Obesity.

Older age is the main risk factor for most cancers. The chance of getting cancer increases as you get older”.11

Age

In women, is age a risk factor for breast cancer?

In Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Established Risks: Age Breastcancer.org also note:

“As with many other diseases, your risk of breast cancer goes up as you get older. About two out of three invasive breast cancers are found in women 55 or older”.12

Hormone Therapy

What does the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain about hormone therapy (HT) and breast cancer?

In Menopause Management: Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT) – Breast Cancer & MHT the JH explain:

“The following factors put you at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than taking MHT:

  • Having more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having your first child over the age of 35
  • Having your menopause in your late 50s

This risk should also be seen within the context of the benefits of MHT; taking MHT can significantly improve a woman’s quality of life and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, diabetes, colon cancer and possibly heart disease”.13

Alcohol

Is there an association between alcohol and breast cancer?

In Awareness Remains Low Over Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk the JH note:

“More than 100 studies have proven it – drinking alcohol increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Alcohol is thought to be the cause of between 5% to 11% of all breast cancer cases. However, awareness of the link between alcohol and breast cancer remains relatively low”.14

Breast Cancer Survivors

What is one of the points of consensus about the use of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) in breast cancer survivors?

One of the points of consensus in the Revised Global Consensus Statement on Menopausal Hormone Therapy – endorsed by seven menopause-related organizations – published online 20 June 2016, is:

  • “Current safety data do not support the use of systemic MHT in breast cancer survivors, although discussions, in selected women and in conjunction with each woman’s oncologist, may occur for compelling reasons after nonhormonal or complementary options have been unsuccessful”.15

Bone Health

Is there an association between bone health and breast cancer?

In Breast Cancer & Bone Health according to the JH:

“Women who have had breast cancer may be at increased risk of developing osteoporosis: the loss of bone strength, making bones more fragile and prone to fracture.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you should ask your doctor to check your bone health, especially if you have other risk factors for osteoporosis such as a family history, low calcium intake and/or low vitamin D levels”.16

Men

Can men get breast cancer?

Yes. In Male Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ)–Patient Version: Overview – General Information About Male Breast Cancer the NCI note in the U.S.:

“Male breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.

Breast cancer may occur in men. Breast cancer may occur in men at any age, but it usually occurs in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer”.17

Health Care Provider

What if I notice changes with my breasts?

If you notice any changes with your breasts, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to you health care provider about this as soon as possible.

In About Your Breasts the JH explain:

“When To See Your Doctor

It is important to know your own breasts so you can tell if any changes occur.

You should see your doctor about:

  • New lumps
  • New lumpiness
  • Changes in the shape of your breast
  • Changes in the colour of your breast
  • Changes in the nipple
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Puckering or dimpling of breast skin
  • Any persistent breast pain
  • Any persistent nipple or breast itching or rash”.18

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Breast Cancer?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Breast Cancer?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Established Risks: Age. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors Accessed: 22 September 2020
  2. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: B – Breast Cancer. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/B Accessed: 22 September 2020
  3. What Is Breast Cancer? Last Modified on: 18 May 2018. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/what_is_bc Accessed: 22 September 2020
  4. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: B – Breast Cancer. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/B Accessed: 22 September 2020
  5. Worldwide Cancer Data: Global Cancer Statistics for the Most Common Cancers – Global Cancer Incidence In Women. World Cancer Research Fund International https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/worldwide-cancer-data Accessed: 22 September 2020
  6. Worldwide Cancer Data. World Cancer Research Fund International https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/worldwide-cancer-data Accessed: 22 September 2020
  7. Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Statistics. Page Last Reviewed: 08 June 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/index.htm Accessed: 22 September 2020
  8. Breast Cancer In Women: Overview. Page Last Reviewed: 28 October 2019. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/ Accessed: 22 September 2020
  9. Resources for Women. 22 May 2017. World Heart Federation https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/resources-for-women/ Accessed: 22 September 2020
  10. Breast Cancer Risk Factors. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors Accessed: 22 September 2020
  11. Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ)–Patient Version: General Information About Breast Cancer – A Family History of Breast Cancer and Other Factors Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer. Updated: 24 August 2020. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/breast-treatment-pdq Accessed: 22 September 2020
  12. Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Established Risks: Age. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors Accessed: 22 September 2020
  13. Menopause Management: Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT) – Breast Cancer & MHT. Last Updated: 30 July 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-management Accessed: 22 September 2020
  14. Awareness Remains Low Over Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk. 13 August 2019. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/news/awareness-remains-low-over-alcohol-and-breast-cancer-risk Accessed: 22 September 2020
  15. De Villiers, T. J., Hall, J.E., Pinkerton, J. V., Pérez, S. C., Rees, M., Yang, C., Pierroz, D. D. Revised Global Consensus Statement on Menopausal Hormone Therapy: Section B: General Principles Governing the Use of MHT. Climacteric, 2016;19:4:314 https://www.imsociety.org/manage/images/pdf/ba6379e868044bec13015ac2b84f2753.pdf Accessed: 22 September 2020
  16. Breast Cancer & Bone Health. Last Updated: 13 February 2020 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/breast-cancer-bone-health/ Accessed: 22 September 2020
  17. Male Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ)–Patient Version: Overview – General Information About Male Breast Cancer. Updated: 11 October 2019. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/male-breast-treatment-pdq#section/_69 Accessed: 22 September 2020
  18. About Your Breasts: When To See Your Doctor. Last Updated: 04 December 2019 | Last Reviewed: 30 October 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/breast-health/about-your-breasts Accessed: 22 September 2020

Topic Last Updated: 28 October 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 22 September 2020
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