More women survive breast cancer today thanks to earlier detection and better treatments. However, it is a common disease and the number of cases is rising. It is the most common cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women will develop the disease by the time they are 80 years old, and around 80% of all detected breast cancers occur in women over 50.
Breast cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death.
Even if a woman has one or more relatives who have, or have had, breast cancer, it does not necessarily mean that it runs in her family.
There are many different types of breast cancer, and are not due to a single cause as there are many factors that affect your chances of developing it.
The same risk factors affect all women, whatever their family history.
Breast cancer is a complex disease and there is no one agreed way of treating it.
A wide range of treatments are available but not all of them will be right for every breast cancer.
The most important factor is to be breast aware, the earlier a breast cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of a successful treatment. Always follow the 5-point breast awareness code:
1.Know what is normal for you
2.Know what changes to look and feel for
3.Look and feel
4.Report any changes to your GP without delay
5.Always attend routine breast screening if you are aged 40 or over
Breast cancer also occurs in men but at a considerably lower rate; for about every 140 women diagnosed, one man is also diagnosed with this disease.