Declines in US breast cancer rates not uniform
Between 2001 and 2004, new cases of breast cancer declined more than 8 percent in the United States. However, new research suggests that the decline was significantly less pronounced among poor women and among women living in rural areas.
“We looked closely at the previously reported decline in breast cancer observed in 2002-2003 using one of the largest databases available and found that the decline was faster in urban and affluent areas than rural or poorer areas,” Dr. Christina Clarke, from the Northern California Cancer Center in Fremont told Reuters Health.
In their study, reported online in the journal BMC Medicine, Clarke’s team looked at trends in the occurrence of breast cancer in US women by urban and rural status as well as poverty status for the period of 1997 to 2004.
They report that breast cancer cases overall fell by 13.2 percent, with greater reductions among women living in urban (-13.8 percent) versus rural (-7.5 percent) areas and low-poverty (-13.0%) or middle-poverty (-13.8%) versus high-poverty (-9.6%) counties.
Breast cancer incidence trends for rural counties, which peaked in 1999 and then declined steadily, differed from trends observed in urban counties, where rates fell dramatically after 2002, the team notes.
“Understanding what specific populations were involved in the breast cancer declines,” Clarke said, “helps us to better plan prevention efforts for the future, especially with the aging of the baby boomer population into prime breast cancer age.”
SOURCE: BMC Medicine 2009.
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