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Breast Cancer in Numbers

Breast cancer according to the WHO is the most common cancer in women living in developed and developing countries. Factors responsible for the prevalence of breast cancer in the developing world include adoption of a sedentary lifestyle, increased urbanization, a more westernized diet and increased life expectancy. Breast cancer in the developing countries is usually detected in the very late stages. So, early detection of breast cancer is a major pillar in improving breast cancer outcomes and survival. Below are some not-so-fun figures and facts about breast cancer.

  • Nearly 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2012, making it the second most common cancer overall.
  • 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women, this year, will be breast cancer.
  •  An estimated 41,070 people (40,610 women and 460 men) will lose their lives to breast cancer this year.
  • Africa has the lowest incidence of breast cancer survivors still alive 5 years after their diagnosis.
  • Also, 508,000 women died in 2011 due to breast cancer
  • 50% of breast cancer cases occur in less developed countries and 58% of deaths occur in less developed countries.
  • Approximately, under 7% of all breast cancer cases happen in women under 40.
  • Breast cancer usually produces no symptoms when the tumour is small and most easily treated.
  • Black women are more likely than any other race to die of breast cancer before the age of 45.
  • The earlier a woman has her first full-term pregnancy, the lower her chances of developing breast cancer.
  • Using some forms of birth control pills increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Mutations in some genes called BRCA1 and BRCA 2 increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Being obese or not having a healthy diet pattern also increases the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • The use of hormone replacement therapy by women in menopause increases the chances of getting the disease.

Breast cancer is a killer that can and must be stopped. Being aware of the burden of the disease and its risk factors would go a long way in the fight against the disease. Early detection is key!