Breast Cancer Facts

What is Breast Cancer?


Breast cancer is a type of cancer where cells in the breast tissue divide and grow without normal control. Like other cancers, breast cancer can spread throughout the body. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States.

Each week in Oregon and SW Washington 63 men and women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 11 will die.

Risk Factors





Risk increases with age. Women age 50 and older are at a higher risk of being diagnosed.

Being a Woman

Women are at greatest risk for developing breast cancer, although men are susceptible as well.


Race is not a risk factor, but rates of developing and dying from the disease differ among racial and ethnic groups.





Alcohol Use

Personal History

Hormone Replacement Therapy & Birth Control Pills



Consuming one or more alcoholic beverage a day may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Having a personal history of breast cancer, or any form of cancer can strongly increase your risk of being diagnosed again.

The use of hormones (Estrogen & Progestin) and current or previous use of birth control pills have been shown to slightly increase the risk of developing breast cancer.





Family History

Having an immediate family member with breast cancer can increase your risk. However, 85% of women who’ve been diagnosed have no family history!

High Breast Density

Breast density refers to the proportion of fat to tissue in the breasts. Women with high density breast are 4-5 times more likely to develop the disease than those with lower density.

Genetic Mutations

Some inherited mutations, including BRCA 1 & BRCA 2 are linked to breast cancer. These do increase risk, but only account for 5-10% of breast cancers!





Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight after menopause has been shown to increase risk. Eating a balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight can decrease risk.

Lack of Exercise

Exercise enhances the immune system’s ability to kill cancer cells and slow their growth, so it may reduce the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer! 


Breastfeeding for at least 12 months may lower a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer, particularly for premenopausal women.


Early Detection and Effective Treatment: The Key to Surviving Breast Cancer!


When Breast Cancer is diagnosed at its earliest stages, the five-year relative survival rate is 99 percent.

Mammograms are the best available breast cancer screening tool. They can detect about 85 percent of all breast cancers.
Have a conversation with your doctor to decide when, and how often you should have a mammogram.

More Information on Early Detection>>

More Information About Risk Factors>>

Komen is the largest non-governmental funder of breast cancer research in the world with $847 million invested so far. Read More About 2015 Research Fast Facts>>


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