Breast Cancer Deaths In The U.S. Are Down By Nearly 40%

About 322,600 lives have been saved from breast cancer.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of the month, we will be highlighting the stories of those affected, as well as the people who come to their aid and help bring awareness to the issue.

This month, many people are doing their part to raise awareness for breast cancer. Survivors are sharing their personal experiences with breast cancer, and many organizations are making an effort to educate people about it. These efforts can encourage more women to get screened, which has contributed to a decrease in mortality rates. 



Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death among women after lung cancer, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.Every two years, the American Cancer Society identifies and reports the latest trends in breast cancer incidence, mortality, survival, and screening by race and ethnicity in the United States. The latest figures from the American Cancer Society show some positive news. 

From 1989 to 2015, deaths from breast cancer in the U.S. dropped by 39 percent, according to the American Cancer Society's report. "As a result of this decline, 322,600 breast cancer deaths have been averted in US women through 2015," the report states. "Declines in breast cancer mortality rates have been attributed to both improvements in treatment, and early detection by mammography." 

By January 1, 2016, there were more than 3.5 million U.S. breast cancer survivors. 

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While the most recent data indicates a decrease in breast cancer mortality in all major racial and ethnic groups in the United States, Black women still have the highest fatality instances in this country. The American Cancer Society lists a number of factors that may contribute to this disparity, including a complex interaction of biologic and non-biologic factors as well as access, adherence, and response to treatment. Research shows that Black women are more often diagnosed during more advanced stages of breast cancer. They're also more commonly diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive subtype associated with poorer survival rates that's difficult to treat. For this reason, people such as Alicia Keys and Stella McCartney are working together to raise breast cancer awareness for women of color.  

While a 39 percent drop in overall deaths from breast cancer in the U.S. is a positive sign, there's clearly much more work to be done to ensure that more lives are saved. Everyone should have access to screening and treatment for breast cancer. 

"Increasing access to health care in all states can further progress the elimination of breast cancer disparities," the American Cancer Society states. 

(H/T: TIME

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