Changes Expected in Breast Cancer Rates

AACR: Changes Expected in Breast Cancer Rates
AACR: Changes Expected in Breast Cancer Rates

(HealthDay News) — The number of U.S. women diagnosed with breast cancer could rise by as much as 50 percent within the next 15 years, according to new government predictions. The findings were to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 18 to 22 in Philadelphia.

Philip Rosenberg, Ph.D., a senior investigator at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and colleagues used government data on breast cancer rates, population projections from the Census Bureau, and a mathematical model to estimate the burden of breast cancer in the United States over the next couple of decades. The researchers predict that in 2030, roughly 441,000 U.S. women will be diagnosed with the disease -- up from 283,000 in 2011.

When it comes to estrogen receptor (ER)-positive cancer, Rosenberg told HealthDay that the rate is expected to rise by 0.5 percent each year among women age 70 and up. The increase will be even greater among women ages 50 to 69 -- at around 0.9 percent, he said. But because the elderly population will swell by 2030, those women will account for a growing proportion of breast cancer cases -- 35 percent, Rosenberg's team predicts, versus 24 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, the proportion of cases among women ages 50 to 69 could decline from 55 to 44 percent.

As for ER-negative tumors, the researchers predict that they will account for only 9 percent of breast cancers in 2030, versus 17 percent in 2011. "There could be a breast cancer-prevention clue in that decline," Rosenberg said. "Understanding the 'why' behind the trend will be very important."

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