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When you ask women which health problem they fear most, the overwhelming answer is breast cancer, according to a poll by the Society for Women's Health Research. And who can blame us for being scared? The disease claims more than 40,000 lives every year, and the odds-one in eight women will develop it in her lifetime-defi nitely have a way of sticking in our minds.

 

But as frightening as these stats sound, there's actually a lot of good news about breast cancer these days. "It's an exciting time," says Leslie Ford, M.D., associate director for clinical research in the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Prevention. "We're starting to understand the molecular and genetic basis of tumors, which is helping us develop better ways to treat the disease and even prevent it in high-risk women." These advances have made a signifi cant impact: Death rates from breast cancer have declined steadily since 1990. When diagnosed and treated early, more than 90 percent of women with breast cancer now survive at least five years.

 

Raising your awareness of this disease is the first step toward lowering your risk. To keep you in the loop, we've gathered the latest research findings, along with tips from cancer experts and survivors, so you can take control of your breast health today.

 

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