TABLE 2-1 Estimated Cancer Prevalence, United States, January 1, 1999

 

Number

Percent

Total

8,928,059

100.0

Sex

 

Male

3,929,515

44.0

Female

4,998,544

56.0

Site

 

Breast

2,051,280

23.0

Other

6,876,779

77.0

Years since breast cancer diagnosis

 

Total

2,051,280

100.0

0 to 4

724,510

35.3

5 to 9

495,499

24.2

10 to14

326,501

15.9

15 to 19

173,627

8.5

20+

331,143

16.1

 

SOURCE: Ries et al., 2002.

PREVALENCE

In 1999, there were an estimated 2 million women with a history of breast cancer, representing 41 percent of the nearly 5 million female cancer survivors or 23 percent of 8.9 million total cancer survivors (Table 2-1). Among women with a history of breast cancer, 35 percent had been living with their diagnosis for less than 5 years, while 16 percent were survivors of 20 or more years.

STAGE AT DIAGNOSIS

The prognosis of invasive breast cancer is strongly influenced by the stage of the disease, or how far the cancer has spread when it is first diagnosed. Local stage describes cancer confined to the breast, regional stage tumors have spread to the lymph nodes, and distant stage cancers have metastasized (spread to distant sites) (American Cancer Society, 2001). As shown in Figure 2-1, the 5-year survival rate is highest for early stage cancer (96.4 percent), and lower for regional stage (77.7 percent) and distant stage (21.1 percent) cancer (American Cancer Society, 2001).

Most breast cancer (63 percent) is localized at diagnosis, but this varies by race (see discussion below). Fewer women are diagnosed with regional (28 percent) or distant (6 percent) disease. Other women are diagnosed with noninvasive cancer that has not spread beyond its site of origin. These so-called in situ breast cancers are either lobular (originating in the breast



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