Why Your Mammo Can’t Wait

Breast cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2021, it’s estimated that over 280,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women, along with nearly 50,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. While some cancers don’t have screening tests available, breast cancer does — and has a high chance of being curable if diagnosed early and treated effectively.

Why Are Breast Cancer Cases Rising?

According to new information released in December 2020 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most commonly diagnosed cancer, accounting for 12% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that around one-third of deaths from cancer are due to:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • High body mass index
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • Tobacco use

WHO also attributes the rise in breast cancer diagnoses in the last year to the COVID-19 pandemic. With many women choosing to postpone annual visits or delay ongoing treatment for existing health concerns, doctors are seeing more late-stage diagnoses as patients return for appointments.

While some cancers don’t have screening tests available, breast cancer does — and has a high chance of being curable if diagnosed early and treated effectively.

Better Imaging and Treatments Are Improving Survival Rates

Some good news is that even though the number of diagnosed breast cancer cases is rising, women with aggressive breast cancer are living longer due to better imaging techniques, which help detect breast cancer earlier, and improved treatments . The five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer before age 50 has doubled since the 1990s, from 18% to 36%.

When we look at the changing statistics and data, it’s important to note that people in the U.S. are living longer. That means that there are more older women overall and therefore more women being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Screening Is Still the Best Way to Reduce Your Risk 

Breast cancer screening is the best way to find breast cancer early, before it spreads. Screenings are for healthy adults with no symptoms. The goal is to find cancer before you feel a lump or notice other symptoms, such as:

  • Breast pain
  • Changes in breast shape or size
  • Dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin
  • Inverted nipple (pushed inward rather than sticking out)
  • Lumps or thickening in the breast or underarm
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
  • Redness, soreness, rash or swelling

We recommend that most women receive mammograms every two years starting at age 40. Some may need earlier or more frequent screening — for example, if you have a family history of breast cancer, carry a certain genetic mutation or received radiation therapy to your chest when you were younger. 


Partnering With You to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk


AdventHealth offers women the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re doing everything you can to spot breast cancer early. Call the Member Experience Center at 855-747-7476 so we can help you schedule this important screening.

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