As society recovers slowly from the ravages of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, one disease remains far more prevalent. Being the second-leading cause of death among women of all ages, breast cancer continues to pose a serious threat to the world.
Source: (Statista “Breast Cancer Incidence Rate By Country”)
It is estimated that roughly 1 in 39 or 2.6% of all women will die from breast cancer every single year. In the previous year alone, this form of cancer was responsible for claiming the lives of over 685,000 women.
With 7.8 million documented cases worldwide and 2.3 million new cases, breast cancer is also the most common form of cancer. In the US, around 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with this disease in their lifetime.
What makes this disease so terrifying is the fact that there is still much that is unknown in terms of actual causes. One thing is certain, however: breast cancer will often follow a specific trend with regard to the people it afflicts.
The most obvious trend among breast cancer patients is the age at which they are diagnosed with cancer. Globally, most women are between the ages of 55 and 64 years old at the time of their diagnosis.
As a matter of fact, the incidence rate of breast cancer above the age of 60 is around 1,000 in 100,000 people. This is significantly higher than the incidence rate for women below 20, which is 25 in 100,000 people.
Though the exact cause of this trend is still being studied, many experts believe the lack of cancer-inhibiting cells is to blame. As women grow older, their cells break down, leaving them vulnerable to cancerous growths.
To put things in perspective, the upward trend of breast cancer cases with age is visualized below:
Source: (MedicalNewsToday “What is the link between age and breast cancer?”)
In addition to age, a woman’s ethnicity is also believed to affect her chances of being diagnosed with cancer. One study in Singapore actually showed that Chinese Singaporeans were more likely to develop cancer as opposed to any other ethnicity.
Between 2014 and 2018, there were 9036 cases of breast cancer reported among Chinese Singaporeans. This figure amounts to nearly 83% of all breast cancer cases reported in the island city-state.
As was the case with age-related trends, the reason behind these ethnic trends is undetermined. Current data points to a combination of genetic, socioeconomic, and cultural differences.
Ultimately, a woman’s greatest measure against breast cancer is consistent screening and early detection. By performing self-checks and periodic screening, women can watch for early signs of cancer and prevent it from progressing into a serious case.
There is still much to learn regarding breast cancer and its causes. But thanks to years of research, the technology and practices for treatment have improved significantly, with most cases now having a survival rate of over 90%.
Breast cancer is still a serious threat to the health of women everywhere but if we remain vigilant and strong, this disease can be dealt with. The hope is that in the near future, breast cancer may even cease to be a health issue.