Projected Breast Cancer Advancements in Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, after skin cancers, and the most common cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. On average, the risk of an American woman developing breast cancer throughout the course of her life is approximately 12%. 2018 statistics on breast cancer in the United States, compiled by the American Cancer Society, reveal the following:
- Approximately 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women.
- Approximately 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women.
- Approximately 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men.
- Approximately 40,920 women are expected to die from breast cancer.
- There are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the United States (survivors as of January 2018).
- Appriximately 85% of breast cancers that occur in women are found not be associated with a family history of breast cancer and inherited mutations, but rather due to genetic mutations that occur as a result of the natural aging process and life in general.
- Less than 15% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
The most significant risk factors to date
To date, the most significant risk factors for breast cancer are having a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with the disease, having a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation, being a woman, and getting older. Trends in breast cancer incidence rates in the United States have been stable in Caucasian women and slightly increasing in African American women. Since the year 2000, these rates have been declining. One theory of this decline is due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy, which suggests a link between HRT and increased risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, since 1989, trends in breast cancer deaths have been steady among women under the ages of 50 and declining among women over the ages of 50. This decline is thought to be a result of early detection through screening, improved treatment options, and increased breast cancer awareness.
Currently, researchers from all around the globe are working hard to find better ways to detect, treat, and prevent breast cancer, as well as to improve the quality of life for both patients and survivors. A few active areas of research include the following:
- Causes of breast cancer
- Treatment of breast cancer
- New lab tests for breast cancer
- New imaging tests for breast cancer
- Managing ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
- Supportive care
- Reducing the risk of breast cancer
Research into the causes of breast cancer
Studies are currently underway to determine any possible links associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Researchers are looking into:
- The effect of diet, exercise, weight gain or loss, on the risk of breast cancer
- The effect of environmental causes on the risk of breast cancer
- How common gene variations may affect the risk of breast cancer
- How common gene variations in combination with lifestyle factors and habits may affect the risk of breast cancer
Read on to learn more about future advancements in breast cancer management.