U.S. Breast Cancer Death Rate Drops
But a Race Gap Persists in America's Breast Cancer Death Rate
Sept. 25, 2007 -- The American Cancer Society (ACS) today reported that U.S.
breast cancer deaths continue to drop, but that decline still hasn't reached
all ethnic groups.
That news appears in the ACS' biannual report on breast cancer in the
According to the report, breast cancer deaths declined by 2.2% annually from
1990 to 2004, partly due to earlier detection and advances in treatment.
But there are racial gaps in those figures, the report also shows.
Breast Cancer Race Gap
The ACS reports that breast cancer deaths dropped 2.4% per year from 1990 to
2004 in white and Hispanic women, compared with 1.6% annually in
Women's breast cancer death rates didn't change during that time among
Asian-American/Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and Alaska natives.
The precise reasons for those racial patterns aren't clear. Genetics may
play a role, but other factors including income and access to medical care are
"A woman today has a lower chance of dying from breast cancer than she's
had in decades," says Harmon Eyre, MD, chief medical officer for the ACS,
in a news release.
"Unfortunately, not all women are benefiting at the same level,"
says Eyre, noting that by 2004, breast cancer death rates were 36% higher in
African-American women than in white women.
The ACS estimates that about 40,460 U.S. women will die of breast cancer in
2007 -- and that about 2.4 million women living in the U.S. have a history of
But breast cancer isn't U.S. women's leading cancer killer -- lung cancer is
-- and heart disease kills more U.S. women than all cancers combined.
Latest Breast Cancer Statistics
In the new report, the ACS predicts that an estimated 178,480 new cases of
invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year among U.S. women.
Invasive cancer has spread from its starting point into surrounding breast
tissue. Most breast cancers are invasive.
The ACS also estimates that 62,030 new cases of in situ breast cancer
(cancer that hasn't spread beyond its starting point to other breast tissue)
will be diagnosed in 2007.
Breast cancer is far more common among women than men. The ACS predicts that
in 2007, about 2,030 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men,
accounting for about 1% of all breast cancers.
The ACS estimates that 450 men will die of breast cancer in the U.S. this
Breast Cancer Rarer?
Breast cancer is U.S. women's most common cancer (except for skin cancers),
but it may be becoming rarer than in the past.
Don't race past that word "may." Undetected breast cancers due to
missed mammograms may be contributing to the trend.