Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Global Trends in Premenopausal and Postmenopausal Breast Cancers

By: Jenna Carter, PhD
Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2020

A recent population-based study from more than 40 countries published in The Lancet Global Health characterized the trends and global burden of breast cancer by menopausal age from 1998 to 2012. “The findings from this study show important differences in the breast cancer burden by age and point to the need for prevention initiatives such as efforts to reduce obesity and alcohol consumption, increase physical activity and breastfeeding—all of which reduce one’s risk for developing breast cancer,” said senior study author Miranda Fidler-Benaoudia, PhD, of the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in an institutional press release.

To assess cancer burden, the researchers conducted a population-based analysis of global breast cancer incidence and mortality rates among premenopausal and postmenopausal women, using the GLOBOCAN 2018 database from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. They also used the United Nations Development Program’s four-level human development index, which provided summaries of life expectancy, expected and mean years of schooling, and gross national income. To further assess long-term trends, the investigators used the Cancer in Five Continents plus database, which covered 44 populations from 41 countries by calculating the annual average percent change between 1998 and 2012.

They found that countries with a very high human development index (HDI) had the highest incidence of premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancers (30.6 and 253.6 cases per 100,000, respectively), whereas countries with a low and medium HDI had the highest premenopausal and postmenopausal mortality rates (8.5 and 53.3 deaths per 100,000, respectively). Trend data revealed increasing age-standardized incidence rates for premenopausal breast cancer in 20 of the 44 populations and significantly increasing rates for postmenopausal breast cancer in 24 of the 44 populations. Overall, the case-fatality percentage decreased with increasing HDI for both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancers.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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