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Basic Information About Breast Cancer

Photo of a nurse talking to her patient

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. Deaths from breast cancer have declined over time, but remains the second leading cause of cancer death among women overall and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women.

Each year in the United States, about 220,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,000 in men. About 40,000 women and 400 men in the U.S. die each year from breast cancer. Over the last decade, the risk of getting breast cancer has not changed for women overall, but the risk has increased for black women and Asian and Pacific Islander women. Black women have a higher risk of death from breast cancer than white women.

The risk of getting breast cancer goes up with age. In the United States, the average age when women are diagnosed with breast cancer is 61. Men who get breast cancer are diagnosed usually between 60 and 70 years old.

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