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J Cancer Epidemiol. 2012;2012:915610. doi: 10.1155/2012/915610. Epub 2012 May 27.

Epidemiology of breast cancer in europe and Africa.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Education, Cardiff University School of Medicine, 5th Floor, Cochrane Building, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XW, UK.


Breast cancer continues to remain the most lethal malignancy in women across the world. This study reviews some of the epidemiological similarities and differences in breast cancer between white European women and black African women with the aim of optimising care for women with breast malignancy across the world. The incidence of breast cancer is lower among African women than their European counterparts. Majority of women in Europe are postmenopausal when they present with breast cancer; however, the peak incidence among African women is in the premenopausal period. Ductal carcinoma is the commonest type of breast cancer among women in Africa and Europe. However, medullary and mucinous carcinomas are more common in Africa than in Europe. While European women usually present at an early stage especially with the advent of screening, African women generally present late for treatment resulting in lower survival rates. There should be more research at the molecular level among African women to identify genetic factors that may contribute to the risk of developing breast cancer. There should also be improvement in the health care system in Africa in order to optimise care for women with breast cancer.

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