17 Breast cancer facts that might surprise you

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Understanding breast cancer is key to combating the disease...

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How much do you really know about breast cancer?

  • Around 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. That's one person every 10 minutes


  • Of these about 400 are men


  • 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime


  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Around a third of all new cancers diagnosed in women in the UK are breast cancer


  • The biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer are getting older, being female and, for a few, having a significant family history of the disease


  • Just over 80% of breast cancers occur in women who are over the age of 50


  • Your risk of developing breast cancer before you are 29 is 1 in 2,000. Before you're 39, is 1 in 215. Before you're 49, it's 1 in 50


  • Just under 12,000 people die from breast cancer in the UK every year


  • More than 8 out of 10 people survive breast cancer beyond five years. More than three quarters of people survive it beyond 10 years


  • It's thought that around 550,000 people are alive in the UK who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer


  • Most cases of breast cancer don't run in the family. Most cases of breast cancer happen by chance. Less than 10% of breast cancers are caused by inheriting a faulty gene


  • Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to divide and grow in an abnormal way. Breast cancer is not one single disease. There are several types of breast cancer and people are treated differently as a result


  • Going for breast screening will not prevent breast cancer from developing, but it may find a breast cancer sooner – before it can be felt


  • The age range for the screening programme is being extended to 47-73 by the end of 2016 in England. Younger women's breast tissue can be dense, which makes the mammogram image less clear


  • Regularly drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing breast cancer. For every 100 women who drink one typical drink a day (for example, a pint of lager or standard 175ml glass of wine) there will be an extra two women who develop breast cancer when compared with 100 women who don't drink alcohol at all


  • Regular physical activity will help to reduce your risk of breast cancer, particularly after the menopause


  • Stress does not cause breast cancer. Despite numerous studies, no definitive link between stress and breast cancer has been found



To find out more about breast cancer, visit breastcancercare.org.uk

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