Despite advancement in detection and treatment with promising trends in screening over the past three decades, breast cancer remains the most common malignancy and the second cause of cancer death among women. Worldwide, the incidence of breast cancer varies by as much as five-fold based on geographic location. Countries with the highest incidence rates include the United States (U.S.) and the Netherlands (approximately 91 per 100,000). Countries in the far east, such as India and China, have the lowest incidence rates (approximately 20 per 100,000) (Parkin 2004). In the U.S., approximately 217,440 new invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in 2004; an estimated 1,450 of those cancers were diagnosed in men. Approximately 40,580 deaths from breast cancer occurred in 2004 in the U.S. (Jemal, Tiwari et al. 2004). In addition to invasive breast cancers, an additional 59,000 cases of non-invasive in situ carcinomas of the breast were diagnosed (Jemal, Tiwari et al. 2004). Breast cancer develops through a series of molecular, genetic and environmental events. As the understanding of the multi-step process of breast cancer tumorigenesis and its underlying molecular events increase, new avenues for breast cancer prevention and early intervention are emerging.
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