U.S. Breast Cancer Death Rate Drops
But a Race Gap Persists in America's Breast Cancer Death Rate
Breast Cancer Rarer? continued...
The ACS reports a 3.5% drop per year in breast cancer cases from 2001 to
That decline follows a sharp rise in breast cancer cases from 1980 to 1987
that slowed until 2001 and then headed down.
Why the turnaround? The ACS notes two possible reasons.
Reason No. 1: Many women halted hormone replacement therapy (HRT) starting
in 2002, after the Women's Health Initiative linked HRT to breast cancer risk.
Researchers continue to debate that risk.
Reason No. 2: Mammography rates are down. Some women may have breast
cancer and not know it. That would make breast cancer rates look lower than
they really are.
Mammography isn't a perfect test, but it's the best way to screen women for
Breast Cancer Perspective
A woman living in the U.S. has a 12.3% (1 in 8) lifetime risk of developing
breast cancer, states the ACS report.
But remember, that's a general number about a woman's odds of developing
breast cancer at some point in her life -- not this year, or even this
Breast cancer becomes more common with age, but it can also strike before
menopause, so the ACS encourages women to learn what's normal for their breasts
and to get lumps checked by a doctor.
Most lumps aren't breast cancer. But don't assume that a lump is no big
deal. Check with your doctor to find out -- and remember, if it is breast
cancer, the sooner it's detected, the better your chances may be of
(Do you get regular
mammograms? Take the poll on WebMD's Women’s Health: Friends Talking