By Sean Williams
Source: Flickr user Paul Falardeau.
With the exception of certain types of skin cancers, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Though the disease is by no means relegated just to women -- more than 2,000 cases were diagnosed in men in 2011 -- women do account for about 99% of all breast cancer diagnoses (220,097 in 2011) according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's also the second-leading cancer-based cause of death for women behind only lung cancer.
In addition to being among the most-diagnosed cancer types, it's also quite expensive to treat. Based on a study published in Dec. 2012 in the American Journal of Managed Care, the direct costs of treating breast cancer totaled $16.5 billion in 2010. This amounts to about 13% of all dollars spent in the U.S. to treat cancer that year. This can place a big burden on the healthcare system as a whole, and especially the patient, who can suffer costs of $20,000 to $100,000 on average, with more advanced disease patients generally coping with higher costs.
Five states where breast cancer is most common
Though roughly one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point during their lifetime, and breast cancer can happen to anyone throughout the U.S., there are a few states that stand out as well above average when it comes to female breast cancer incidence rates. Across the United States, the average incidence rate is 122 cases per 100,000 people. In the following five states, however, incidence rates range from nearly 134 to more than 141 incidences per 100,000 people.
These states are:
New Hampshire (141.7 incidences per 100,000 people)
Age-adjusted female breast cancer incidence rates per 100,000 people. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There's not too much in common with these states other than the fact that they're in the upper half of the country (from a geographic standpoint), which leads me to one of my key points about breast cancer: Researchers aren't exactly sure why some women get breast cancer and others don't. Don't get me wrong; doctors do have a general idea about some of the primary risk factors for breast cancer, which include age, genetics, whether or not a patient is a smoker and/or is overweight, and even whether or not hormone replacement therapy was previously used. But, the fact remains that there's no certainty in determining whether or not one woman will get breast cancer and another one won't. ...more