Get the Facts on Breast Cancer

Getting the facts on breast cancer can both equip and empower you to take care of your breast health. Keep in mind, though, that the statistics below describe large groups of people; they don’t take into account a person's own risk factors such as family history, behaviors or not having cancer screenings. We are committed to giving patients accurate information on breast cancer.

Here are a few statistics from the American Cancer Society and the National Breast Cancer Foundation:

  • Each year, an estimated 246,660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the second-most often diagnosed type of cancer in women—skin cancer is first. Breast cancer ranks second as a cause of cancer death in women with lung cancer first.
  • A woman’s risk of having breast cancer increases as she gets older.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 440 will die each year.
  • On average, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today.
  • Death rates from breast cancer have been going down since 1989. This is thought to be due to better treatment and better ways to find it early, when it's small and easier to treat.

Classifying Breast Cancer

Once your oncologist knows you have cancer, the next step is to find out the grade and stage of the disease. A pathologist will determine the staging and grading after a biopsy. He or she will issue a report that includes the cancer's grade and stage, and discuss it with you.

Staging is a way to note the size of the tumor and whether or not it has spread. Grade is a way to note how abnormal the cancer cells look under a microscope. Staging and grading of cancer is important for deciding how to treat it, and how curable it is. The stage of a cancer is more important than grade in deciding on treatment.

Grades of Breast Cancer

The grade refers to how the cancer cells look when compared to normal breast cells. The grade of your cancer will help your doctor predict how fast the cancer may grow and spread. A scale of 1 to 3 is used to grade breast cancer. The lower the number, the more the cancer cells look like normal cells. This means the cancer is less likely to spread, and can be easier to treat and cure; cells that look more like normal tend to grow and spread slowly. Grade 3 cancer cells look very different from normal cells; this grade of cancer is more likely to spread.

Breast Cancer Staging

The stage of a cancer is how much and how far the cancer has spread in the body. Your health care provider uses exams and tests to find out the size of the cancer and where it is. He or she can also see if the cancer has grown into nearby areas, and if it has spread to other parts of your body. The stage of a cancer is one of the most important things to know when deciding how to treat it.

Doctors use different rating systems to stage cancer. The system used most often for breast cancer is the TNM system:

Each person deserves personalized breast cancer care, whether that be diagnostic services or treatment. Learn more about symptoms, treatment options and clinical trials available through our cancer treatment facilities.

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1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
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(732) 828-3000
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865 Stone Street
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(732) 381-4200
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(732) 923-7700
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600 River Ave
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(732) 923-7700
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(973) 926-7280
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(732) 923-7700
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377 Jersey Avenue
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(877) 393-5374
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560 Springfield Ave
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(973) 322-7020
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173 Essex Ave
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(732) 494-0415
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200 South Orange Avenue
Suite 102
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(973) 322-7020
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(732) 235-6700
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(609) 655-5178
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