What are the historical trends in the incidence of breast cancer in the US?

Updated: Feb 04, 2021
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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The incidence of breast cancer in the United States increased rapidly from 1980 to 1987, largely as a consequence of the widespread use of mammography screening, which led to increased detection of asymptomatic small breast tumors. After 1987, the increase in overall rates of invasive breast cancers slowed significantly, specifically among white women aged 50 years or older.

Incidence over this period of time varied dramatically by histologic type. Common ductal carcinomas increased modestly from 1987 to 1999, whereas invasive lobular and mixed ductal-lobular carcinomas increased dramatically during this time period. [66] For women under the age of 50, breast cancer rates have remained stable since the middle to late 1980s. Rates of DCIS have stabilized since 2000. [67]

Whereas a decline in invasive breast cancer rates was evident as early as 1999, rates decreased dramatically in women aged 50 years or older between 2001 and 2004. During this same period, no significant change was observed in the incidence of ER-negative cancers or cancers in women younger than 50 years. The decline in rates from 2001 to 2004 was greatest between 2002 and 2003 and was limited to non-Hispanic whites. [68, 69, 70, 71]

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