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Consider the following statistics related to breast cancer:

  • Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women.
  • American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates for 2012 include 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer being diagnosed in women in the U.S. In addition, carcinoma in situ (cancer that has not spread beyond the original site) will be responsible for 63,300 new cases this year. Of these, about 85 percent will be ductal carcinoma in situ.
  • In 2012, it is estimated that 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Year 2012 estimates include 39,920 deaths occurring from breast cancer in the U.S. alone. This includes approximately 39,510 women and 410 men.
  • According to ACS, the breast cancer death rate in women age 50 and older in the U.S. has been falling by about 2 percent per year, since 1990.
  • Breast cancer ranks second among cancer deaths in women after lung cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?

The following are the most common symptoms of breast cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain and may cause no symptoms at all. And, some breast cancers never cause symptoms or other indications of a problem. As the cancer grows, however, it can cause changes that women and men should watch for, such as:

  • A lump or thickening (a mass, swelling, skin irritation, or distortion) in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • A change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple (dimpled, puckered, red, swollen, or scaly)
  • Nipple discharge, erosion, inversion, or tenderness
  • A woman (or man) should consult a physician when any of these changes are noticed.

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