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SABCS: Breast Cancer Mortality Rates Globally Diverse

Last Updated: December 12, 2016.

Breast cancer mortality rates are decreasing in the United States and many other countries, but increasing in South Korea and some Latin American countries, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 6 to 10 in Texas.

MONDAY, Dec. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer mortality rates are decreasing in the United States and many other countries, but increasing in South Korea and some Latin American countries, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 6 to 10 in Texas.

The investigators looked at data from 47 countries from 1987 to 2013. They found that breast cancer mortality rates declined in 39 of those nations due to advances in detection and treatment over the past few decades. The largest decrease was in England and Wales, with a 46 percent drop. South Korea had the largest rise in breast cancer mortality, with an 83 percent increase overall.

In the United States, the breast cancer mortality rate fell 42 percent. It decreased from 22 deaths per 100,000 women in 1987-1989 to 14 deaths per 100,000 women in 2011-2013. Rates declined in all age groups in the United States: by 50 percent for women under 50; by 44 percent for women between 50 and 69; and by 31 percent for women 70 or older. There were mixed findings from Latin America. The researchers also found that breast cancer mortality rates worldwide declined more among women younger than 50 than for those over 50.

The researchers noted several situations where nations that were in the same regions and had similar levels of wealth had similar breast cancer mortality rates even though some had used mammography screening since the 1980s while others introduced it in 2005 or later. "This finding underlines the difficulty of isolating a single, common factor that would have a major influence on mortality trends," lead author Cecile Pizot, from the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research. "Differences in health care systems and patient management could explain discrepancies in mortality reduction between similar countries."

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