Quiz: Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women, and its impact extends well beyond the person diagnosed. In fact, half of early stage breast cancer patients rely on three or more people to help them process treatment decisions.1 While partners and caregivers provide crucial support for women with breast cancer, it's important that the larger community is also informed – be it a neighbor, sister-in-law, or friend of a friend. Learn more about breast cancer — specifically how understanding the size, status, stage and subtype upon diagnosis can help all women make more informed treatment decisions — by taking our quiz below.

1. Approximately how many women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year?

More than 250,000
In 2017, invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in an estimated 252,710 women.2 An estimated one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.3 With so many diagnoses, it’s likely most people will have a personal connection to someone with breast cancer at some point.

2. In what age range is a woman most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer?

30-40 years old
70-80 years old
60-70 years old
50-60 years old
40-50 years old
Rates begin to increase after age 40 and are highest in women over age 70.3 The types of breast cancer also vary by age. The triple-negative subtype of breast cancer is more common in younger women (before menopause), whereas the hormone-receptor positive subtype is more common in older women (after menopause).4

3. True or false? Breast cancer can be classified into subtypes based on the proteins on or in the cancer cells, which can help determine the appropriate treatment.

There are many different types of breast cancer — it’s not a one-size-fits-all disease. Identifying the subtype of each patient’s tumor can help patients and their doctors determine the right treatment plan for them.5


Stage I
HER2-positive is an example of a breast cancer subtype based on the proteins found in or on cancer cells.5
A closer look at the many different breast cancer subtypes.

5. True or false? After a biopsy, negative results for HER2 and negative results for the hormone receptors estrogen and progesterone mean breast cancer was not detected.

Testing negative for HER2 and testing negative for the hormone receptors estrogen and progesterone mean these proteins or receptors are not causing the cancer to grow. The breast cancer is therefore classified as triple-negative. 6

6. True or false? Only tumors larger than 2cm in diameter can spread to other parts of the body.

Breast cancer tumors vary in shape and size. Breast cancer can spread to other parts of the body regardless of size.8
Breast cancer tumors vary in shape and size.

7. Where is the first place breast cancer is likely to spread?

Lymph nodes
Breast cancer can initially spread to the lymph nodes. Once cancer reaches the lymph nodes, its node status is “positive” and the cancer is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.8
Node status (+ or -) indicates if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

8. True or false? Stages 0-I are known as early breast cancer and stages II-IV are known as advanced breast cancer.

The stage of breast cancer is specified with a 0-IV scale based on tumor size and whether and how far the tumor has spread.7 Stages 0-III are all known as early stage breast cancer, when treatment provides the best chance for a cure, while stage IV is considered advanced because it has spread to other parts of the body.9
The stage of breast cancer is specified with a 0-IV scale.

Breast cancer is not a one-size-fits-all disease. There are many types of breast cancer based on the unique biology of an individual’s tumor. Understanding the size, status, stage and subtype can help decode a diagnosis and guide appropriate treatment decisions.

1. Wallner LP, et al. Decision-support networks of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer 2017 (epub ahead of print).
2. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2017.
3. American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2015-2016.
4. American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Hormone Receptor Status. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/understanding-a-breast-cancer-diagnosis/breast-cancer-hormone-receptor-status.html. Accessed August 30, 2018
5. American Cancer Society. How is breast cancer classified? http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-classifying. Accessed August 31, 2017
6. American Cancer Society. Stages of Breast Cancer. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/understanding-a-breast-cancer-diagnosis/stages-of-breast-cancer.html. Accessed August 31, 2017
7. American Cancer Society. Lymph Nodes and Cancer. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/lymph-nodes-and-cancer.html. Accessed August 31, 2017.
8. National Cancer Institute. Metastatic Cancer. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/what-is-cancer/metastatic-fact-sheet. Accessed August 31, 2017.