Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Breast Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Description of the Evidence

Background

Incidence and mortality

With an estimated 232,670 cases expected, breast cancer will be the most frequently diagnosed nonskin malignancy in U.S. women in 2014.[1] Also in 2014, breast cancer will kill an estimated 40,000 women, second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer mortality in women. Breast cancer also occurs in men, and it is estimated that 2,360 new cases will be diagnosed in 2014.[1] Despite a prior long-term trend of gradually increasing breast cancer incidence in women, data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program show a decrease in breast cancer mortality of 1.9% per year from 1998 to 2007.[2]

The major risk factor for breast cancer is advancing age. A 30-year-old woman has a 1 in 250 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the next 10 years, whereas a 70-year-old woman has a 1 in 27 chance.[2]

Breast cancer incidence and mortality risk also vary on the basis of geography, culture, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Compared with other races, white women have a higher incidence of breast cancer that may be attributable, in part, to screening behavior.[1]

Screening by mammography decreases breast cancer mortality by identifying cases for treatment at an earlier stage. However, screening also identifies more cases than would become symptomatic in a woman's lifetime, so screening increases breast cancer incidence. (Refer to the Overdiagnosis section in the PDQ summary on Breast Cancer Screening for more information.)

Etiology and pathogenesis of breast cancer

Breast cancer develops when a series of genetic mutations occurs.[3] Initially, mutations do not change the histologic appearance of the tissue, but accumulated mutations will result in hyperplasia, dysplasia, carcinoma in situ, and eventually, invasive cancer.[4] The longer a woman lives, the more somatic mutations occur and the more likely it is that these mutations will produce populations of cells that will evolve into malignancies. Estrogen and progestin cause growth and proliferation of breast cells that may work through growth factors such as transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha.[5] These hormones, whether endogenous or exogenous, may promote the development and proliferation of breast cancer cells.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
 
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
 
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
VIDEO
Resolved To Quit Smoking
SLIDESHOW
 
Woman getting mammogram
Article
Screening Tests for Women
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
serious woman
Article
 
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow
SLIDESHOW