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Epidemiology of breast cancer: international comparison

L. Dušek, J. Mužík, D. Malúšková, L. Šnajdrová

Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno (Czech Republic)

Breast cancer is among the most commonly diagnosed cancers in women worldwide. In 2012, according to the GLOBOCAN estimates [1], there were 1,671,149 new cases of breast cancer worldwide (the most common cancer in women worldwide, accounting for 25.1% of all cancers in women apart from non-melanoma skin cancers), and 458,718 new cases of breast cancer in Europe (the most common cancer in women in Europe, accounting for 28.6% of all cancers in women apart from non-melanoma skin cancers). In 2012, there were an estimated 521,907 deaths from breast cancer worldwide (14.7% of the total number of cancer deaths in women, the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women), and 131,347 deaths from breast cancer in Europe (16.9% of the total number of cancer deaths in women, the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women). The 5-year prevalence of breast cancer (i.e., the number of breast cancer patients who were still alive five years after diagnosis) in 2012 was estimated at 6,232,108 worldwide (239.9 breast cancer survivors per 100,000 women) and 1,814,572 in Europe (553.8 breast cancer survivors per 100,000 women). In 2012, the cumulative risk of breast cancer in women aged under 75 was 4.60% worldwide and 7.53% in Europe [1].

Table 1. Epidemiology of breast cancer worldwide.
Source: GLOBOCAN 2012 [1].
Table 2. Epidemiology of breast cancer in Europe.
Source: GLOBOCAN 2012 [1].

Parameter

Females

Incidence rates

number of new cases

1,671,149

number of new cases per 100,000 women

47.8

ASR(W)

43.1

proportion of all newly diagnosed cancers
(apart from skin cancers)

25.1%

rank among all newly diagnosed cancers
(apart from skin cancers)

1st

Mortality rates

number of deaths

521,907

number of deaths per 100,000 women

14.9

ASR(W)

12.9

proportion of all cancer-related deaths
(apart from skin cancers)

14.7%

rank among all cancer-related deaths
(apart from skin cancers)

1st

Prevalence rates (patients still alive five years after diagnosis)

absolute number of survivors

6,232,108

rate per 100,000 women

239.9

Cumulative risk of developing breast cancer

from birth until the age of 75

4,60 %

Parameter

Females

Incidence rates

number of new cases

458,718

number of new cases per 100,000 women

119.5

ASR(W)

69.9

proportion of all newly diagnosed cancers
(apart from skin cancers)

28.6%

rank among all newly diagnosed cancers
(apart from skin cancers)

1st

Mortality rates

number of deaths

131,347

number of deaths per 100,000 women

34.2

ASR(W)

16.1

proportion of all cancer-related deaths
(apart from skin cancers)

16.9%

rank among all cancer-related deaths
(apart from skin cancers)

1st

Prevalence rates (patients still alive five years after diagnosis)

absolute number of survivors

1,841,572

rate per 100,000 women

553.8

Cumulative risk of developing breast cancer

from birth until the age of 75

7.53%

Tables 1 and 2 provide a basic overview of epidemiological characteristics of breast cancer worldwide and in Europe. This data demonstrates a significant breast cancer burden in European countries, which is still associated with very high mortality rates. High breast cancer incidence and mortality rates are also shown in Figures 1 and 2.

Czech female breast cancer incidence rates rank 30th worldwide and 18th in Europe, while Czech female breast cancer mortality rates rank 118th worldwide and 37th in Europe.

Figure 1: International comparison of breast cancer (C50) incidence rates in females. ASR(W) – age-standardised world incidence rate per 100,000 females. Source: GLOBOCAN 2012 [1]. Figure 2: International comparison of breast cancer (C50) mortality rates in females. ASR(W) – age-standardised world mortality rate per 100,000 females. Source: GLOBOCAN 2012 [1].

International epidemiological statistics make it possible to estimate the ratio of mortality to incidence rates (M/I), which can be considered as an indirect indicator of survival of breast cancer patients in a given country (Figure 3). According to the most recent statistics, the Czech Republic with its M/I ratio at 0.18 slowly approaches the developed Western European countries, for which the M/I ratio ranges from 0.15 to 0.18. Recent data from the Czech National Cancer Registry [2], i.e. the incidence of 67.40 and the mortality of 15.39 (data from 2011 recalculated as ASR-W), give the ratio of 0.22. Internationally assessed prevalence rates (i.e., number of patients patients still alive five years after diagnosis) are shown in Figure 4. As a logical consequence, the highest prevalence rates have been reported for countries with the lowest values of M/I ratio. As for breast cancer prevalence rates, the Czech Republic is slightly above-average among European countries.

Figure 3: International comparison of the ratio of mortality to incidence rates (M/I), breast cancer (C50). Evaluated acccording to ASR(W) – age-standardised world incidence rate per 100,000 females. Source: GLOBOCAN 2012 [1]. Figure 4: International comparison of breast cancer (C50) prevalence rates (patients still alive five years after diagnosis, females. Source: GLOBOCAN 2012 [1].

Let us conclude this overview of international statistics with a summary of cumulative risk of breast cancer in women from birth until the age of 75 (Figure 6). High values of this risk reflect a high population burden with this disease, which is typical for European countries in particular. Cumulative risk for the Czech Republic is 7.76, so the Czech female population occupies an average position in Europe (18th) and above-average globally (29th).

Figure 5: International comparison of cumulative risk of breast cancer (C50) from birth to 75 years of age, females. Source: GLOBOCAN 2012 [1].

References

  1. Ferlay, J., Soerjomataram, I., Ervik, M., Dikshit, R., Eser, S., Mathers, C., Rebelo, M., Parkin, D.M., Forman, D., Bray, F.: GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [online]. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon (France) 2013. Available from WWW: http://globocan.iarc.fr.
  2. Dušek L., Mužík J., Kubásek M., Koptíková J., Žaloudík J., Vyzula R. Epidemiology of malignant tumours in the Czech Republic [online]. Masaryk University, Brno (Czech Republic) 2005. Available from WWW: http://www.svod.cz. Version 7.0 [2007], ISSN 1802 – 8861.

 

Last updated on 24 September 2015