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Breast Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall
Date:9/25/2007

But decline is greater among white women than black women, report finds

TUESDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer death rates continue to decline more than 2 percent annually, a long-running trend that can be traced to early detection and better treatments, according to a new American Cancer Society report.

However, the death rates are not declining as quickly among black women as among white and Hispanic women.

In 2007, about 178,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women, and another 62,030 cases of localized breast cancer will be found. About 40,460 women are expected to die from the disease this year, second only to lung cancer, the report said.

The decline in overall reported breast cancer cases, beginning in 2000, is believed to be related to two factors. One is the decreased use of hormone replacement therapy, which has been linked to a multitude of health risks, including breast cancer.

The other factor could be potentially troubling, experts say: A decrease in mammography screening, resulting in fewer cancers being detected. While 70 percent of women aged 40 and older said they had had a mammogram within the past two years in 2000, just 66 percent did in 2005.

Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among U.S. women, accounting for more than one in four malignancies detected in women, said the report. It has been published every two years since 1996.

Among other findings in the report, titled Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2007-2008:

  • From 1995-2004, the drop in breast cancer death rates was highest in whites and Hispanics/Latinas, at 2.4 percent per year, but lower in blacks, at 1.6 percent annually. It remained unchanged among other racial and ethnic groups, including Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders and American Indians/Alaska Natives.
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