Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, with the exception of skin cancer, accounting for about 30% (or 1 in 3) of all new diagnosis in females each year. The American Cancer Society’s estimates there will be 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the United States in 2022.

This type of cancer occurs most frequently in middle-aged and older women, with a median diagnosis age of 62. This means half of the women who develop breast cancer are 62 years of age or younger when they are diagnosed.  Only a very small number of women diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 45.

Overall, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%, which translates to about a 1 in 8 chance. Thankfully, this also means there’s a 7 in 8 chance a woman will never have the disease.

Although it can take time for breast cancer to present symptoms, the following changes are common:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • New (unexplained) pain
  • Changes in breast shape
  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite
  • Digestion problems
  • Weight loss

If you think you might be exhibiting some of the symptoms of breast cancer, it’s critical that you see your doctor as soon as possible. Early stages of breast cancer don’t always show symptoms – which means you could live for some time without even realizing the cancer is present. Performing monthly self examinations of your breast tissue and seeing your doctor for preventative mammograms are also crucial in early detection.