Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality rates: Canada, U.K., U.S.A.
Breast Cancer incidence and mortality rates are fairly consistent within the Western developed nations. Statistics tend to show that the diagnosis rate is increasing, while the mortality rate is decreasing. There are several suggestions as to why this might be the case, but common sense suggests that more women are being diagnosed at an earlier stage due to increased sophistication and participation in breast cancer screening programs.
Early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer significantly improves long term survival, so one would naturally expect a corresponding decline in breast cancer mortality where comprehensive breast cancer screening programs and early treatment procedures are in place.
I just want to let you know that I have created a newer version of this page with more up-to-date information on Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates.
Breast cancer diagnosis and mortality rates in Canada (2005) per 100000 people
|Age groups for women||New Cases||Deaths|
Statistics for breast cancer diagnosis rate and mortalities in ten year intervals in Canada do not differ significantly from breast cancer incidence and mortality rates in the United States. Canada ranks about 12th among 16 countries of similar development. On average, the overall mortality rate due to breast cancer in Canada is about 169 per 100000 population.
Number of deaths due to breast cancer per 100000 women in Canada: Statistics from 2010
|Age groups for women||Deaths|
|70 and over||2850|
Canadian Breast Cancer mortality rates in Canada appear to be declining
According to statistics from 2005, the mortality rate for women in the 50-59 age group in Canada is approximately 1 in 6. For the 60-69 bracket it appears to be approximately 1 in 5. For women aged 40-49, the mortality rate due to breast cancer is approximately 1 in 7. However, there are encouraging trends from the most recent Canadian breast cancer statistics; taken during 2010. The mortality rates for women in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, have all experienced a small but significant decline.
In fact, long term statistics from both the U.S. and Canada show a steady and continuing decline in breast cancer mortality rates from the mid 1980’s until 2006, and this trend certainly appears to be ongoing. This decline could be due to any number of factors, but many experts, depending on the model of breast cancer risk involved, estimate that improvements in adjuvant breast cancer therapy can reduce breast cancer mortality from 35% up to 72%.
Breast Cancer Mortality rates: Canada and the U.S. over time
U.S. Breast Cancer incidence rates tends to be significantly lower in some states than other
In the United States, the breast cancer incidence rate is lowest in West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, at around 100 to 116 cases per 100000 women. The highest breast cancer incidence rates in the United States tend to be in the states of New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. It is not immediately clear what factors could amount for significant differences in breast cancer rates from state to state, though it has been demonstrated that women from lower income communities are less likely to participate in breast cancer screening programs. As a result, the breast cancer incidence rate may initially appear to be lower in some regions, and these statistics may be misleading. (The mortality rate will likely be higher as breast cancers will tend to be diagnosed at a later stage).
Breast cancer mortality rates appear to be significantly lower in some Asian countries
Curiously, the lowest breast cancer mortality rates are often found in Asia. The lowest mortality rates for breast cancer are found in China and Japan, with rates of approximately 6% to 7%. By contrast, the mortality rate due to breast cancer tends to average around 20% to 25% in the developed nations of Europe and North America. What could account for such a discrepancy?
The peak incidence rate for breast cancer is later in life in many Asian countries
The most striking difference between Asian and Western countries in terms of breast cancer diagnosis and mortality is the peak age of incidence. In Asian countries, the peak incidence tends to be for women between 45 and 50, while in developed Western nations the peak incidence tends to be between 55 and 60 years of age. In addition, statistics are showing that the incidence of breast cancer in rising in Asian countries, with an associated increase in breast cancer mortality. By contrast, in the west the incidence rate does appear to be increasing, but the breast cancer mortality rate is definitely decreasing.
Statistics also suggest that Asian women tend to have much fewer cases of post-menopausal estrogen receptor positive breast cancers when compared to women living in Western countries. However, differences in tumor ER status are not significant enough to account for such a large disparity. It may be that Asian countries contain different risk factors, such as environmental exposure and diet. However, it is more likely that the differences in breast cancer incidence and mortality rates are due to access to breast cancer screening, and differences in reporting methods. As Asian countries become more urban and ‘western‘, it is likely that the breast cancer data will begin to more closely conform to Western trends.
Breast Cancer Statistics in the UK: mortality rates decreasing
In the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 9 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives, and this figure is about the same for Canada. About 80% of breast cancer cases in England occur with women age 50 and over, with the peak incidence age at between 60 and 64 years. Compared to other types of cancer, breast cancer is thought be account for just over 30% of all cancers in women in the UK.
UK five year breast cancer survival rate is well over 80%
The five year survival rate for women with breast cancer in the UK has been estimated at about 83%, and increasing. The ten year breast cancer survival rate for women in the UK is about 72%, while about 65% will survive for at least 20 more years.
Canadian breast cancer incidence rates: 11% lifetime risk
In Canada, about 11% of women will develop breast cancer by the time they reach 90 years of age. Just about 20% of breast cancers in Canada are diagnosed in women under 50, while almost 30% are diagnosed in women over the 70 years of age. Of course, men may also develop breast cancer, though rarely. Male breast cancers account for less than 1% of all breast cancers.
Canadian breast cancer statistics show an overall 87% survival rate
As a raw number, it is now estimated that about 5300 women will die of breast cancer in Canada each year. That translates to about 100 women every week. About 36% of all breast cancer mortalities in Canada occur in women between the ages of 50 and 69. However, it should be remembered that the overall breast cancer mortality rate in Canada has recently decreased to 21.4%, down from 21.8%. The five year survival rate for Canadian women with breast cancer is now over 87%.
For further reading, I suggest you visit this page with information on Breast Cancer Screening Results from Canada, UK and the U.S.
- National Cancer Institute of Canada, Canadian Cancer Statistics Toronto, Canada. (2005)
- Swart, R., Downey, L., Gohel, MS., Kaur, K., Lang, J., Livingston, RB., Singhal, H., Stopeck, AT., Thompson, PA., Thomson, S., Breast Cancer, Mescape Reference., July 2011.
- U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 19992007 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2010.
- Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Statistics, April 2009.
- Smetanin, P., and Kobak,P., Interdisciplinary Cancer Risk Management: Canadian Life and Economic Impacts, Toronto: RiskAnalytica, (2005).
- Office for National Statistic, UK. Oct. 2010.
- Canadian Cancer Society /National Cancer Institute of Canada. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2010, Toronto, Canada, 2010
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- Anderson WF, Chen BE, Jatoi I, et al. Effects of estrogen receptor expression and histopathology on annual hazard rates of death from breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. (2006) 100:121126.
- Lawson JS, Field AS, Champion S, et al. Low oestrogen receptor alpha expression in normal breast tissue underlies low breast cancer incidence in Japan. Lancet. (1999) 354(9192):17871788.