With new guidelines published regarding younger women and breast cancer, what are the statistics for an older woman?
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 180,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,480 will die from the disease. As women age, their chance of developing breast cancer increases. The National Cancer Institute has determined that a woman born today has a 12.2% chance of developing breast cancer over their lifetime, but the statistics change dramatically as a woman ages. They estimate that a woman’s chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer is:
- Age 30 through age 39 . . . . . . 0.43 percent (or as “1 in 233″)
- Age 40 through age 49 . . . . . . 1.45 percent (or “1 in 69″)
- Age 50 through age 59 . . . . . . 2.38 percent (or “1 in 42″)
- Age 60 through age 69 . . . . . . 3.45 percent (or “1 in 29″)
We know that the risk of breast cancer increases with age. According to Medical News Today, the risk does not decrease until after age 84 with more than 50% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women age 65 or older and as many as 45 percent are diagnosed after age 70. Unfortunately older women often do not continue regular screenings and if diagnosed with breast cancer, are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage making it harder to fight. That’s why experts at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center recommend women continue to receive yearly breast screenings through their 70s. Breast cancer is highly treatable when identified in the early stages and statistics support a 5 year survival rate of over 90%.
Screening should include:
- Yearly mammograms
- Yearly clinical breast exams with a health care provider
- Monthly breast self-exams
Many specialists believe that even women older than 85 should continue to be screened for breast cancer, especially if they are in good health. You should always check with your healthcare provider to verify coverage prior to any procedures.
The message I want every woman over age 65 to really understand is that they need to continue to take care of their health. They need to continue to be diligent about seeing their physician for health maintenance exams, including a breast exam, and about getting that mammogram done every year,” Kathleen Diehl, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School.