About Women's Cancers

  • 1 in 9 females are expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • On average,14 Canadian women will die from breast cancer every day.
  • Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women. Note: This excludes non-melanoma skin cancers, which are not included in statistics because most provincial and territorial cancer registries do not collect incidence data on this type of cancer.
  • 1 in 6 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast or gynecological cancer in their lifetime.
2013 Incidence
  • Of all cancers, Canadian females are most likely to develop breast cancer.
  • 23,800 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer (1 in 9 females are expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime).  This represents 26% of all new cancer cases in women in 2013.
  • On average, 65 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
  • 200 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 60 will die from it.
  • Age:
    • Breast cancer occurs primarily in females 50-69 years of age (52%)
    • Approximately 30% of cases will be diagnosed in females over the age of 69
    • 18% of cases will occur in females under the age 50

2013 Mortality
  • 5,000 women will die from breast cancer.  This represents 14% of all cancer deaths in women in 2013.
    • Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in females (following lung cancer).
    • On average, 14 Canadian women will die from breast cancer every day.
    • 200 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 60 will die from it.

The female breast cancer rate has been declining since the mid 1980’s, and the downward trend has accelerated to 2.4% per year since 2000 which is likely due to the use of more effective cancer treatments following breast cancer surgery, as well as increased mammography screening. Signs and Symptoms
If any of these signs or symptoms are detected, a doctor should be seen as soon as possible:

  • A lump in the breast or under the arm area
  • An inverted nipple
  • Crusting or reddening of the nipple, or patchy areas on the nipple
  • Discharge or bleeding from the nipple
  • Changes to the shape and size of the breast
  • Changes to the skin of the breast
  • Changes in skin temperature of the breast

Experts agree that early detection is the key to cancer survival. Use the following guidelines to develop a screening schedule that is right for you:

  • Mammography (once every two years recommended for women ages 50 to 69)
  • Clinical examination (once every two years recommended for women over 40)
  • Self-examination is another important aspect of early detection.

Family history can play a role in whether an individual will develop breast cancer. If any immediate family members have been diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause, be sure to alert your physician. He/she may adjust your screening schedule accordingly.

Risk Factors
No one thing causes breast cancer, but there are a few common factors that seem to increase risk of developing it:

  • Family history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • Early menstruation
  • Late menopause
  • Having taken hormone replacement therapy for more than five years
  • Never having given birth
  • Giving birth for the first time over the age of 30
  • Dense breast tissue
  • An increased number of non-cancerous cells in the breast
  • Radiation treatment to the chest area before age 30
  • Being over the age of 50
  • Obesity, alcohol consumption and the use of birth control pills may also slightly increase risk.

Breast cancer treatment and care today is so customized that a specialized treatment plan is tailored to the needs of the individual patient. Breast cancer treatment may include:

  • A lumpectomy removes the tumour while conserving most of the breast.
  • A mastectomy removes the entire breast and sometimes the lymph nodes.
  • Radiation is used to treat many stages of breast cancer and frequently used after a lumpectomy.
  • Biological therapy helps the body's immune system fight cancer.
  • Herceptin is used to treat human epidermal growth factor positive (HER2) tumours.

These facts are staggering and bring much sadness to the lives that have been affected by these diseases. A future free of women's cancers starts with your commitment to walk, fundraise, and raise awareness today. Pledge to do something meaningful and sign up for The Weekend. Register online now!

Compiled by Star Library
Source: Canadian Cancer Society, American Cancer Society, U.S. National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Library of Medicine, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. National Science Foundation, Star files.