Keeping an Eye on Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among American women after skin cancer, and is behind only lung cancer in terms of death rates. 1 out of 12 U.S. women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. To further examine Breast Cancer Statistics, Click Here. Needless to say, breast cancer needs to be monitored.

Certain breast cancer risk factors should be kept in mind. The American Cancer Society states that the main risk factor associated with breast cancer is gender. Women are about 100 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men. That being said, men are not immune to breast cancer; a man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 1,000. Age is another factor to consider when assessing breast cancer risk. Most invasive forms of breast cancer are found in women over the age of 55. While age is something to consider, family history is extraordinarily important. If a woman has a first degree relative who has developed breast cancer, her risk of breast cancer doubles. In fact, about 5-10% of breast cancers are attributed to mutations in genes passed down from one’s mother or father. However, just because you have no family history of breast cancer doesn’t mean you are in the clear. 85% of breast cancers develop in women with no family history of breast cancer! To further examine Breast Cancer Risk Factors, Click Here.

How should breast cancer be monitored? A recent article by Denise Grady of the New York Times, American Cancer Society, in a Shift, Recommends Fewer Mammograms, claims that the American Cancer Society has recently amended their screening recommendations and endorsed fewer mammograms. Women with a moderate risk of breast cancer should start having mammograms at the age of 45 and continue once a year until they reach the age of 54. Once these women reach the age of 54, they should have a mammogram done every other year as long as they are healthy and likely to live another 10 years. The American Cancer Society also no longer recommends clinical breast exams, exams where doctors and nurses check for lumps, for women at any age with no past breast abnormalities. Women aged 40 to 44 should still have the opportunity to have mammograms if they want them, and women 55 and over should be able to have mammograms once a year if they so choose. These guidelines are only applicable to women with an average risk of breast cancer; high risk women should be more closely monitored.

Unfortunately, physicians sometimes overlook and fail to diagnose this type of cancer. If you or someone you love suffers from this type of cancer, and you feel you may have been a victim of medical error, please call our office for a free consultation. Our attorneys have successfully litigated many claims against physicians for failing to detect, diagnose, and treat the breast cancer in a timely fashion.