Breast Cancer-Related Deaths Are Declining In Many Countries

Feb. 21, 2017


Take-Home Message:

Many nations are seeing significant drops in breast cancer-specific mortality. The reasons for these changes are multilayered.


Breast Cancer Mortality Rates Decline in Many Countries

Source: Pizot, C. et. al.

These investigators accessed the World Health Organization’s database for the time period of 1987-2013. They extracted information about breast cancer-specific deaths (mortality) in multiple nations.

Out of 47 countries observed, breast cancer mortality decreased. In the US, the rate declined by 42% across all age groups. England and Wales had the largest decline at 46%. Argentina and Chile had drops in breast cancer mortality as well.

Other nations had increases in breast cancer mortality over the time period. These nations include Brazil and Colombia. South Korea saw the greatest rise in breast cancer mortality at 83%. Notably, this rate was still lower than that of the US. Rises in rates were associated, in some situations, with countries that evolved from agricultural to industrialized and Westernized traditions.

Overall, mortality rates were lower for women under 50 than for women over 50.

The group surmised that the drops in breast cancer specific deaths were not clearly due to increased breast cancer screening. It was suspected that breast cancer treatments played a strong role in these results. The investigators recommend evaluation of health care systems and patient management in each nation to better understand the breast cancer mortality differences.