A new report from the American Cancer Society predicts 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer in US women in 2017. Researchers estimated that 40,610 women will die from breast cancer.
The research also predicted 63,410 new diagnoses of carcinoma in situ, a type of abnormal cell growth that can represent an early form of cancer. Women in the US have a 12.4, or 1 in 8 chance of a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
The report showed that non-Hispanic whites and blacks have a higher risk of breast cancer and mortality than other groups, and that while cancer rates in black women were somewhat lower than those for whites, the rates of death from the disease were 42 percent higher for black women. This data included the years from 2011 to 2015.
Five subtypes of breast cancer have been identified by researchers, and the lower rate of breast cancer among Hispanic women is mostly accounted for by lower rates of the most common of these subtypes, luminal A.
One of the most aggressive subtypes, triple-negative breast cancer, is twice as common among black women.
The biggest racial disparities for breast cancer deaths are in Louisiana, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and New Mexico, while the smallest gaps are in Delaware, Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
According to Carol E. DeSantis, director of breast and gynecological cancer surveillance at the American Cancer Society,:
“These racial disparities are not inevitable. Access to care, economic status, getting high quality treatment early and beginning and completing chemotherapy are all factors.”
Rates of breast cancer increased significantly in the 80s and 90s, and scientists have suggested this may be tied to trends of fewer children and delayed childbearing among women. Both are considered risk factors for breast cancer. Additionally, doctors became better able to diagnose breast cancer in this period, with mammography becoming more common. This may have contributed to higher overall incidence rates.
In the 90s, rates of breast cancer increased more slowly, ahead of a decrease in 2002 and 2003, primarily among white women. Scientists have suggested this could be due to a decrease in the use of menopausal hormone therapy in those years.
Rates of death from breast cancer decreased 39 percent between 1989 and 2015. Roughly 322,600 deaths have been prevented, thanks primarily to earlier diagnosis and innovative new treatments.
As of January of 2016, 3.5 million American women were living with breast cancer diagnoses.
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