University of Vermont

The 19th Annual Women's Health and Cancer Conference

Breast Cancer Facts

Women's Cancer Facts


  • The three leading cancers among women are breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women, followed by breast cancer and then colorectal cancer.
  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer for men and women combined in the US.
  • Each year in Vermont, an average of 130 people die from lung cancer, 93 women die from breast cancer, and 75 women die from colorectal cancer.


Breast Cancer Facts
  • While it is estimated that over 230,000 women are diagnosed and over 40,000 women die of breast cancer every year, death rates from breast cancer have steadily declined over the past decade.
  • There are over 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today.
  • A woman’s chance of developing breast cancer increases with age. In the United States, a woman has about a 13.2 percent, or 1 in 8, lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Your best chance for surviving breast cancer is detecting it early. When found early, there is a 98% chance for cure.
  • Breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by local radiation therapy has replaced mastectomy as the preferred surgical approach for treating women with early stage breast cancer.
  • In Vermont, 63% of breast cancers are diagnosed at the localized (early) stage.
  • Only 5%–10% of breast cancers are hereditary. The majority of women who develop breast cancer have no known significant family history of cancer.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,350 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 440 will die this year.


Lung Cancer Facts
  • Smoking is the cause of more than 80% of lung cancers...

  • BUT people who don't smoke can still get lung cancer.

  • An estimated 10% of lung cancer cases are due to radon exposure.

  • 4% of cancer deaths are attributed to occupational exposures. Exposure to substances such as asbestos, benzene, arsenic, and vinyl chloride should be avoided whenever possible.


Colorectal Cancer Facts
  • More than 136,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, with more than 50,000 deaths from the disease.

  • Colorectal incidence and death rates have fallen over the past decade, thanks in part to an increase in colonoscopy and other screening techniques.
  • Eating a low-fat diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can help decrease your risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Vermont is ranked 8th in the nation in colon cancer screening prevalence, with 71% of adults 50 and over receiving screening.


Gynecologic Cancer Facts
  • Gynecologic cancer is a group of multiple different cancer types, including cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar.
  • After breast, lung, and colorectal, uterine and ovarian cancer are the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women.
  • Some gynecologic cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be prevented through an HPV vaccination.
  • Both men and women can benefit from the HPV vaccination. Current recommendations suggest that children be vaccinated by 11 or 12 years old.

Last modified July 15 2016 03:54 PM