Did You Know?

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women after skin cancers.

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in women after lung and throat cancers.

In 2017, an estimated 3,840 women in Colorado will be diagnosed with new, invasive breast cancer. That is almost 11 women diagnosed with breast cancer per day.

In 2017, an estimated 570 women will die from metastatic breast cancer in Colorado. That is one woman dying of breast cancer every 15 hours.

In Colorado, one out of three breast cancers are diagnosed at a late stage, when survival rates are lower and treatment is more invasive and expensive.

About 1 in 7 women in Colorado will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. That is higher than the national average of 1 in 8 women.

Why is there no cure for breast cancer?

We’ve come a long way since Susan G. Komen was founded in 1982, including a 39% reduction in mortality from breast cancer. In fact, 99% of people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer at its earliest stage – when the disease is contained in the breast and hasn’t spread – who receive treatment to remove the disease, are likely to survive the disease. Many survivors in this category consider themselves cured.

But, there is still a long way to go. Metastatic breast cancer still claims the life of more than 40,000 women in the U.S. every year and the number of new breast cancers diagnosed every year has remained relatively stagnant since the mid-2000s.

Research that has been funded by Komen, the U.S. government, and other private researchers has taught us that there are about 300 different subtypes of breast cancer. Not all breast cancers are the same, which means we can’t treat every breast cancer diagnosis in the same way.

Research has taught us that some breast cancers are fueled by hormones like estrogen or progesterone, while other breast cancers are fueled by a protein called HER2. The drugs used to kill the tumors that are fueled by estrogen or progesterone are different than the drugs used to kill the tumors fueled by HER2. We have to wait for researchers to test different drugs after they find out what fuels the different types of breast cancer – so there’s a delay between when we learn about why breast cancers are different, and when drugs are created to fight back against those different tumor types.

Everyone knows about breast cancer; why does Komen spend resoures on breast cancer education?

Awareness of breast cancer is at an all-time high, but there are still many myths and misconceptions about breast cancer risk factors, screening guidelines, and treatment regimes. The myths and misconceptions about breast cancer are pervasive enough to cause some women to not seek needed care or to assume they are not at risk of developing the disease.

Here are some common myths and the facts:

  • MYTH: Only those with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.
  • FACTS:
    • Up to 87% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women with NO family history.
    • Having a family history may increase a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer, but a family history is not the greatest risk factor.
    • The two most common risk factors for getting breast cancer are being a woman and getting older
    • Early detection and effective treatment offer the best chance of survival
  • MYTH: Mammography can prevent breast cancer.
  • FACTS:
    • Mammography is a tool to detect breast cancer at its earliest stages.
    • Routine mammography is vital for a woman’s health.
  • MYTH: Everyone diagnosed with breast cancer has the same treatment options: radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.
  • FACTS:
    • For those diagnosed, breast cancer treatment is now highly personalized.
    • Oncologists can recommend a treatment regime that targets a woman’s specific type of breast cancer.

Please visit the following sections for more information on the facts related to breast cancer so you may be a strong advocate for your health and the health of your loved ones: