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Around 13% of U.S. women develop invasive breast cancer. How can a multidisciplinary approach help with care and outcomes?

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Mammogram

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women. One in every 8 cancers diagnosed in 2020 was breast cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

In 2021, an estimated 330,840 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S., with 281,550 of those being invasive. Around 13% of women who reach age 80 will develop invasive breast cancer.

Breast cancer most commonly occurs in women over 50, but men and younger women are also at risk. One of 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the U.S. is found in a man, per the CDC, and women younger than 45 years old have been shown to have poorer outcomes.

A person is twice as likely to get breast cancer if they have a first-degree female relative who has been diagnosed.

As with many other medical conditions, racial disparities exist within breast cancer diagnoses and outcomes. White women and Black women have the highest rate of new cases, but Black women are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, experience treatment delays and die from it. The mortality gap between Black and white women has widened in recent years, despite a decline in the overall rate.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for Hispanic and Latina women, who may also be less likely to get high-quality and timely care than white women. A recently published study showed that after breast cancer surgery, Black women were 40% more likely and Hispanic women were 11% more likely to require an emergency department visit compared with non-Hispanic White women.

What types of breast cancer exist? Who is most at risk and why? Can preventative measures be taken? What role can genetic counseling and testing play in assessing an individual's level of risk?

How crucial is early identification to overall outcomes? When should you start to self check and at what age are mammograms suggested?

What can be done to make the system more equitable and improve outcomes for people of color who develop breast cancer? What barriers exist and what can be done to break them down?

What are a patient's options after diagnosis? What does treatment look like? How can a multidisciplinary approach help with the journey of care for breast-cancer patients and their loved ones? What local support is available?

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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, October 21.