Saturday, October 2, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month


From the 1940s until recently, the rate of new cases of breast cancer (called incidence) in the United States increased by a little over one percent a year. In the 1980s, the rate of new cases rose dramatically (likely due to increased screening), and during the 1990s the rate of new cases leveled off. From 1999 to 2006, there was a decline in the rate of new breast cancer cases [5,41]. Although mammography screening rates fell somewhat over this same time period, recent studies show these changes were not likely related to the decline in breast cancer rates [42,43]. The decline appears to be related to the drop in use of postmenopausal hormones that occurred after the Women's Health Initiative study showed that their use increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease [19,41,42,43]. About 207,090 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States in 2010 [5]. In 1975 the incidence of breast cancer was 107 per 100,000 for white women and 94 per 100,000 for black women. Thirty years later in 2005, the number of new cases per year had risen to 126 per 100,000 for white women and 114 per 100,000 for black women [13]. 

In the past 35 years, mortality (the rate of death) for white women has decreased. In 1975, 32 per 100,000 white women (including Hispanic women) died of breast cancer, but by 2005, that figure had dropped to 23 per 100,000. For black women (including Hispanic), though, mortality increased somewhat over the same period, rising from 30 per 100,000 black women in 1975 to 33 per 100,000 in 2005 [13]. (Figure 1.2 shows this trend).
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