“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 starts in the breast tissue when mutated cells grow out of control, eventually creating a mass, or tumor”.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 2020, 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 25.8% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2020”.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)”.7

In the United Kingdom (UK) according to the (United Kingdom) NHS:

“Breast cancer is cancer that’s found in the breasts. It’s the most common type of cancer in women in the UK. Anyone can get breast cancer”.8

Risk

How may breast cancer risk be lowered?

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

“Everyone wants to know what they can do to lower their breast cancer risk. Although doctors don’t know what causes breast cancer, they do know there are factors linked to a higher-than-average risk of developing the disease. Some factors associated with an increase in breast cancer risk — being a woman, your age, and your genetics, for example — can’t be changed. Other factors — lack of exercise, smoking cigarettes, and eating certain foods — can be altered by making lifestyle choices.

By choosing the healthiest lifestyle options possible, you can empower yourself and make sure your breast cancer risk is as low as possible”.9

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”.10

Age

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

In Know Your Risk: Breast Cancer Risk Factors – Age Breastcancer.org also note:

Breast Cancer“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”.11

Hormone Therapy

What does the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) explain about hormone therapy (HT) and breast cancer risk?

On page one in Deciding About Hormone Therapy Use: Potential Risks the NAMS explain:

“Hormone therapy (combined estrogen and progestogen) might slightly increase your risk of breast cancer if used for more than 4 to 5 years. Using estrogen alone (for women without a uterus) does not increase breast cancer risk at 7 years but may increase risk if used for a longer time”.12

On page three in the Joint Position Statement By the British Menopause Society, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Society for Endocrinology on Best Practice Recommendations for the Care of Women Experiencing the Menopause, first published online 10 June 2022, one of the recommendations is:

“A history of breast cancer should be considered a contraindication to systemic HRT. The risk of breast cancer recurrence with HRT is higher in women with oestrogen receptor positive cancer, but women with oestrogen receptor negative breast cancer are also considered to have an increased risk of recurrence with HRT. HRT may, in exceptional cases, be offered to women with breast cancer with severe menopausal symptoms if lifestyle modifications and non-hormonal treatment options are not effective. This should be done after discussion with the woman, her menopause specialist and her breast/oncology team”.13

Alcohol

Is there an association between alcohol and breast cancer?

In Drinking Alcohol Breastcancer.org elaborate on:

“Research consistently shows that drinking alcoholic beverages — beer, wine, and liquor — increases a woman’s risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol also may increase breast cancer risk by damaging DNA in cells.

Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day”.14

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”.15

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.

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics A-Z 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. Know Your Risk: Breast Cancer Risk Factors – Age. Last Updated: 23 February 2023. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/risk-factors/age Accessed: 16 May 2023
  2. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: B – Breast Cancer. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/B Accessed: 16 May 2023
  3. About Breast Cancer? What Is Breast Cancer? Last Updated: 08 July 2023. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/about-breast-cancer Accessed: 16 May 2023
  4. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: B – Breast Cancer. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/expand/B Accessed: 16 May 2023
  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: 16 May 2023
  6. Worldwide Cancer Data. World Cancer Research Fund International https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/worldwide-cancer-data Accessed: 16 May 2023
  7. Breast Cancer: Breast Cancer Statistics – What To Know. 26 February 2024. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/breast-cancer/statistics/index.html Accessed: 16 May 2023
  8. Breast Cancer In Women. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer-in-women/ Accessed: 16 May 2023
  9. Breast Cancer Risk Factors. Last Updated: 18 April 2024. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors Accessed: 16 May 2023
  10. 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: 26 February 2024. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/breast-treatment-pdq Accessed: 16 May 2023
  11. Know Your Risk: Breast Cancer Risk Factors – Age. Last Updated: 23 February 2023. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/risk-factors/age Accessed: 16 May 2023
  12. Deciding About Hormone Therapy Use: Potential Risks. 2022:1. North American Menopause Society https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/professional/menonote-deciding-about-ht-2022.pdf Accessed: 16 May 2023
  13. Hamoda, H., Mukherjee, A., Morris, E., Baldeweg, S. E., Jayasena, C. N., Briggs, P., Moger, S. Optimising the Menopause Transition: Joint Position Statement By the British Menopause Society, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Society for Endocrinology on Best Practice Recommendations for the Care of Women Experiencing the Menopause. First Published Online 10 June 2022:1 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20533691221104882 Accessed: 16 May 2023
  14. Drinking Alcohol. Last Updated: 13 October 2023. Breastcancer.org https://www.breastcancer.org/risk/risk-factors/drinking-alcohol Accessed: 16 May 2023
  15. Male Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ)–Patient Version: Overview – General Information About Male Breast Cancer. Updated: 14 April 2022. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/patient/male-breast-treatment-pdq#section/_69 Accessed: 16 May 2023
Topic Last Updated: 21 May 2024 – Topic Last Reviewed: 16 May 2023

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