A woman who came in for a Breast Thermography told me her story. She walked into the room to have a mammogram. On the door was a large sign that said “1 in 8 women will get breast cancer”. Reassuring isn’t it? That sets her up for fear before she even has the x-ray. I always wondered about this one “look around the table when you are having lunch with eight of your friends, because one of you will get breast cancer.”

Are these your odds? Let’s look at the real numbers.

At least 7 out of 8 women will not get breast cancer!!!

Statistics from the US National Cancer Institute show that a woman’s chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the next 10 years by age is:
Age 30     0.44 percent (or 1 in 227)
Age 40     1.45 percent (or 1 in 68)
Age 50     2.29 percent (or 1 in 42)
Age 60     3.48 percent (or 1 in 28)
Age 70     3.88 percent (or 1 in 26)
Age 70+     1 in 8

Of course, these are general statistics and will vary from woman to woman or man. Family history is only a factor in 11% of diagnosis. Younger woman are the only group whose numbers are on the rise, and the cancers may be aggressive.

In general, do the statistics you have been told really represent your odds? No. We should look at the real numbers.

Let’s do a little medical examination with calculator in hand.

Without even taking age into consideration, you have an 87.5% chance of not getting breast cancer in your lifetime. If you are under 70, you have a 96% of never getting breast cancer.

Put that on a bucket of chicken Susan Komen, instead of your pink ribbon!!! Or on the door of the x-ray room.

What purpose does creating this unrealistic fear serve? Maybe it serves a certain medical model, and they think it will get more woman to comply with screening. In the real world, it scares women from even doing a self-breast exam, which is a safe and effective way for early detection of disease. It keeps many women out of their practitioner’s office.

The breast exam I was taught to do as a young woman was terrifying. It went like this: Pick at time, make a date with yourself, take a sexy bath, light some candles, lie on your bed and caress your body…and see if you can find some cancer! Not a date I want to go on. And I’ve had some bad dates.

If women would just soap up in the shower at different times in their cycle and not fear touching their breasts, the would know when something is out of the ordinary. But they are too afraid of what they might find.

But the odds are good that you will not get breast cancer.

We are of course concerned about the numbers of women, especially young women, being diagnosed with breast cancer. We do consider the possible environmental causes and estrogen like substances we are exposed and the connection. Health tips to address this and move the odds more in your favor are coming in future posts.

But for now…relax, enjoy your life and embrace your body. You’re looking good.