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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer diagnosed in women across every racial and ethnic group in Minnesota. Compared to women of other races and ethnicities, White women have higher breast cancer incidence rates but lower mortality rates.

American Indian and Black women have the highest mortality (death) rates. 93% of women with breast cancer will live at least five years after diagnosis. When breast cancer is found early (localized stage), the five-year survival rate in Minnesota is 99%. But when diagnosed late (regional or distant stage), breast cancer survival is much lower (32%). Follow up on treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.

Risk Factors

■ Being a woman: Women are much more likely than men are to develop breast cancer. But men can get it too.

■ Getting older: The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50

■ Genetic mutations

■ Reproductive history: Starting menstrual periods before age 12 and starting menopause after age 55 exposes women to hormones longer, raising their risk of getting breast cancer.

■ Dense breasts. Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, which can sometimes make it hard to see tumors on a mammogram. Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.

■ Family history of breast or ovarian cancer. A woman’s risk for breast cancer is higher if she has a mother, sister, or daughter (first-degree relative) or multiple family members on either her mother’s or father’s side of the family who have had breast or ovarian cancer.


■ New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)

■ Thickening or swelling of part of the breast

■ Irritation or dimpling of breast skin

■ Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast

■ Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area

■ Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood

■ Any change in the size or the shape of the breast

■ Pain in any area of the breast


Prevention Tips

■ Get Busy! Women who are not physically active have a higher risk of getting breast cancer.

■ Limit alcohol: The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer.

■ Maintain a healthy weight. If your weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight.

■ Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy. Combination hormone therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer.

■ Don’t feel right? Ask Your Doctor. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor.

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© 2023 by Quality Life MN. Created by NdidiMarie Grafix for The Anika Foundation.


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