What is the global prevalence of breast cancer?

Updated: Dec 27, 2019
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

The final decades of the 20th century saw worldwide increases in the incidence of breast cancer, with the highest rates reported in Westernized countries. Reasons for this trend are largely attributed to introduction of screening mammography. Changes in reproductive patterns—particularly fewer children and later age at first birth—may also have played a role, as may changes in lifestyle factors, including the following:

  • Western dietary patterns
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Rising obesity rates
  • More widespread use of exogenous hormones for contraception and treatment of menopausal symptoms

The beginning of the 21st century saw a dramatic decrease in breast cancer incidence in a number of Westernized countries (eg, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia). These decreases paralleled those noted in the United States and reflected similar patterns of mammography screening and decreased use of combination HRT. [2]

In 2018, there were an estimated 2.09 million new cases of invasive breast cancer worldwide. The 2018 incidence of female breast cancer ranged from 25.9 cases per 100,000 in South Central Asia to 94.2 cases per 100,000 in Australia/New Zealand. [2]


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