Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women. As with men, the most common is skin cancer. Over 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year and that represents a steady decrease in the number of breast cancer deaths since 1990.

Some important statistics concerning breast cancer are that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their life time. In 2007, between invasive and non invasive (in situ) breast cancer, there will be about 240,000 new cases diagnosed.

The downturn in the number of women diagnosed and dying from breast cancer appears to be a result of more aggressive screening, education and treatment. I know that back when my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, regular screening was pretty much unheard of. She beat the odds back then, after having a mastectomy, by surviving to age 80 or so. At that time she succumbed to the number one cancer cause of death in women, lung cancer.

These statistics are the very thing that has life insurance underwriters rethinking old guidelines. What is happening is that breast cancer is being caught at earlier stages and treatment is more successful. Survival rates at early stages is exceptional. In situ breast cancer will generally have a survival rate of 90-100%.

Where breast cancer used to mean an automatic decline from most insurance companies, depending on the stage and grade of the cancer, and how far out you are from the last treatment, better than standard rates are definitely not out of picture.

Bottom line. Proactive!!! Regular screening, self exams and education about risk factors are all helping to cut down on the number of women who die from breast cancer.