From the Editor: Greater Odds for Breast Cancer as Life Expectancy Increases

In developed societies where infectious diseases have become less of a threat due to vaccination and treatments, people are able to live longer. But with this increase in life expectancy comes an increased odds of cancer, in particular breast cancer for women. ‘Breast cancer [often] manifests’ itself in the age group of women 40-60 years old. Diseases or other agents that would have previously caused a woman’s death became obsolete with the introduction of vaccines and other treatment methods, allowing for her to live longer but have greater chances of falling victim to breast cancer in her later years. Other risk factors, though low grade, include “not having children at age 30” and obesity (Silver).

The American Cancer Society recently announced that mammograms should be conducted later on in a woman’s life and less often. Though this stirred up conflicts, these announcements are only pieces of advice, not policies as expressed by the society. False positives paired with unnecessary treatments prompted these recommendations so that women who are misdiagnosed do not have to undergo the harsh methods used to treat the cancer. In addition, the society mentioned that “women over age 55 can choose to get a mammogram every other year, since breast cancers in post-menopausal women tend to develop more slowly.” These suggestions are intended for women with an average risk of getting breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer are advised to be screened earlier and more frequently (Cohen). 

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