According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, breast cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide. Breast cancer is also the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Because it is such an early stage of breast cancer, DCIS is often easy to get rid of; however, it is very likely to recur within 5 to 10 years after the original diagnosis.

According to BreastCancer.org, “Women who have breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) for DCIS without radiation therapy have about a 25 percent to 30 percent chance of having a recurrence at some point in the future. Including radiation therapy in the treatment plan after surgery drops the risk of recurrence to about 15 percent.” 60,000 cases of DCIS are diagnosed every year in the United States.

ACS research estimates 230,480 women in the United States diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 57,650 in situ and 39,520 deaths in 2011. In 2008, there were 1.38 million new breast cancer diagnoses worldwide.

Both the ACS and the United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) show that in 2008, Non-Hispanic white females had the highest rate of “breast cancer incidences” with a rate of 122.6 diagnoses per 100,000 persons.

Although African-Americans came in second with 118.0 per 100,000 persons, statistics show a higher mortality rate with 31.2 deaths per 100,000.

Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and American Indian/Alaska Natives incidence statistics follow as 92.8, 87.9 and 65.6, respectively. As women age, the risk of breast cancer increases.

“Ninety-five percent of new cases and 97 percent of breast cancer deaths occurred in women 40 years of age and older [in 2004-2008],” found the ACS. Five percent of females with breast cancer are under the age of 40.

Despite the percentile difference, it is still important for young women to be aware of breast cancer and work to prevent it. Genetics are another factor in getting breast cancer.

Keep-A-Breast, a popular breast cancer organization, found some females “inherit abnormal genes that increase their risk of breast cancer.”

In addition, women who started menstruating early (before age 12) are at more risk to get breast cancer, because they have had more menstrual cycles. The ACS explains this risk “may be due to a longer lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone.”

Contrary to popular belief, females are not the only gender to get breast cancer.

Although it is less common, males are also capable of having breast cancer.

Men have “nonfunctioning breast tissue,” although a small amount compared to females. According to ACS research, 1,970 new incidents of male breast cancer would be diagnosed each year.

In addition, approximately 390 deaths would be caused by male breast cancer, compared to approximately 40,000 female breast cancer deaths each year.

Most cases of male breast cancer is found between the ages of 60 and 70. The most common type of breast cancer in males is the same cancer found in women.

Male breast cancer is more difficult to spot unless the cancer has been metastasized to the rest of the body, but the ACS and MedicineNet describe the most common sign as “a firm, nonpainful mass located below the nipple.”

Although there is not a way to 100 prevent developing breast cancer, male or female, there are precautions one can take to help prevent the possibility.

The first and most obvious way is to be healthy and take care of your body. Eat a well-balanced diet high in fiber and low in fat, exercise — Keep-A-Breast recommends “30 minutes of aerobic activity 3-5 times a week” — and do not smoke.

Studies have shown people who “inhale smoke” can raise the possibility of breast cancer by 60 percent.

Some less obvious precautions is to be sure to be aware about the products and ingredients that go on your body.

Unnatural products are usually harmful to the body and can enhance the chances of cancer. Read the ingredients of every product and be on the lookout for some things like parabens, phthalates, nitrosamines, heavy metals and 1,4-dioxane.

Self-examinations are recommended before having a mammogram. Mammograms are not recommended to those under the age of 40, but are the best way to spot breast cancer. Dr. Crystal Twynham, General Surgeon at Gateway Medical Center, suggests young women should begin self-examinations around puberty.

For detailed instructions on how to give self-examinations, go to cancer.org or keep-a-breast.org. Be sure to look for swelling, warmth, lumps or any abnormalities and be thorough.

The Breast Health Center is located in Gateway Medical Center on Dunlop Lane and offers information, breast examinations, social work services and support groups. For more information, visit their website or call 931-502-1510.