Among American women, breast cancer is the most common cancer, after skin cancer. About 1 in 8 (12 percent) women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
For 2018, the American Cancer Society estimates that:
Incidence rates of breast cancer are highest in non-Hispanic white women; however, breast cancer death rates are highest in African American women.
Source: American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2017-2018.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, surpassed only by lung cancer. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than age 50. It is believed that earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment, has led to these decreases./p>
Today, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., including those still being treated and those who have completed treatment.
Source: American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2018. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2018.
The ACCC Metastatic Breast Cancer Project’s new online resource bank connects you to curated materials (webinars, articles, blogs, and more) to help close communication, education, and information gaps for patients and providers.
Search by topic, resource type (e.g., webinar, article, blog, tool), place in care continuum, or by the effective practices identified in the ACCC Metastatic Breast Cancer Project Workbook and latest case studies in Metastatic Breast Cancer: Effective Principles in Action.
Learn More & Explore the Resource Library
To support quality improvement (QI) projects in breast cancer, ACCC has partnered with Pfizer Global Medical Grants to award more than $1.8 million in funding to 15 projects that are aimed at improving the quality of breast cancer patient care. The projects will focus on conducting quality improvement initiatives that support increasing the rates of BRCA testing for patients with early stage or metastatic breast cancer. The grant awards are providing an opportunity for community oncology programs to implement initiatives that will address barriers to counseling and testing, and to utilize innovative approaches to extend best practices to a much larger patient population, including underserved minority patient groups.
The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has joined with the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and The France Foundation to support a series of live Grand Rounds/Tumor Boards, “PARP Inhibitors: Advancing Personalized Medicine for Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients.”
ACCC member cancer programs are invited to participate in a live Grand Rounds program where a subject matter expert will travel to participating institutions to lead a one-hour accredited session. The Grand Rounds will provide the multidisciplinary cancer team with strategies to appropriately incorporate genetic testing and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor therapy for patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
Managing Patients with HER2+ Breast Cancer
ACCC is partnering with AXIS Medical Education in an educational research project to assess the value of a robust, independent, quality-focused educational intervention that aims to improve a community cancer program's quality measures related to management of patients with HER2+ breast cancer (all stages). Two ACCC-member Cancer Programs are participating in the project.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. In this guest blog post, breast cancer survivor Meredith Goldberg shares her perspective on the importance of making space to “just breathe.”
There was a moment when the voice on the other end of the line told me, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer,” that I thought for sure that I was part of a very elaborate prank.
Breast cancer? Me? I’m only 32 years old. They must have the wrong number. They must have the wrong person.
“Ms. Goldberg, are you there?” the voice on the line asked.
No such luck.
As the nurse began telling me what I needed to do next, the biopsy that needed to be performed, the surgeon that needed to be found, I stood in the kitchen of my best friend’s house, frozen. I should have been writing down her instructions. I should have put her on speaker so my best friend could have heard any of this info, but I didn’t. I was in shock.
This was the first in a string of moments during my cancer “journey” (for lack of a better word) where I was inundated with information that eventually just escaped my brain. And it was all information that I needed, information that was crucial to my course of treatment and subsequent wellness routine.
As I moved through my cancer “journey,” I found that this happened to me often. I would be sitting with my surgeon, my plastic surgeon, my radiologist, my naturopath, my whomever, and suddenly I was staring out the window with the “Farmer in the Dell” on a loop in my head. It wasn’t because I was bored; far from it. These were the people tasked with keeping me alive, the people making sure that I made it to my 33rd birthday, and beyond. I wanted to listen, really I did, but I became so overwhelmed on certain occasions that I just mentally shut down.
The argument could be made that I should have spoken up. I should have said, “Excuse me, can you repeat that?” and that is an accurate statement. But there is something about sitting across from a medical professional that can be super intimidating, especially if you are a person that up until the age of 32 had never even had a cavity.
It wasn’t until I had what I like to call “the talk” with my oncologist about my course of chemotherapy that I first experienced one of my doctors taking a step back. He could sense the fear in my face. He could see the tears streaming down my cheeks as he told me that I was about to undergo 12 rounds of chemo, 6 Herceptin-only rounds that would have no effect on my body, but that the 6 rounds of Taxotere, Carboplatin, and Herceptin that would precede the Herceptin-only therapy would leave me completely bald.
“Ok, that’s enough for today,” he said as he closed my ever-expanding file. “You’ve had enough. We can talk more next week. I don’t want to overwhelm you.”
He was a little too late with the overwhelming, but I appreciated the break.
From that point on, I learned that I had every right to say, “Hey, you know what? I’ve had enough.” And to my surprise (and delight) my doctors honored my feelings and took a step back.
At the end of the day, I always appreciated the sense of urgency that was applied to my treatment and the time that was put into creating my care plan, but what I appreciated even more was when we closed my file for the day, sat back and just took a deep breath.
Meredith Goldberg is the author of From Cocktails to Chemotherapy: A Guide to Navigating Cancer in Your 30’s, now available on Amazon.