Breast cancer rates in the United States are at a rate of about 1 in 8 U.S. women or about 12% of women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2016, an estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. For women in the military, the rates are higher, but a new study from Walter Reed Medical Center credits early detection for the difference in rates.
The research from Walter Reed shows that women in the military are 20-40% more likely to develop breast cancer, but it seems to be down to early detection. A DOD initiative resulted in more women being tested at an earlier time in their lives and as a result, more cases were found. The initiative involved more education for women on the benefits of early testing and that resulted in more early detection of breast cancer and fortunately better survival rates. While different medical organizations are suggesting different time intervals for testing, the DOD initiative standardized care for military women. Early detection is still a key to getting a better outcome for breast cancer and women in the military have benefitted from this early testing.