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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2004 Jan-Mar;5(1):24-7.

Breast cancer in Iran: results of a multi-center study.

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Cancer Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Enqelab St, 14178,Tehran, Iran.



Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in Iranian women. This study aims to demonstrate the characteristics of breast diseases- and especially breast cancer- according to pathologic records in Tehran, Iran.


In this cross-sectional study, all records of pathologic specimens (biopsy or mastectomy) categorized as "breast diseases" from 1996 to 2000 in five teaching hospitals in Tehran were studied. For each patient, sex, age, breast pathology, pathological staging of malignant lesions, side and location of the tumor and the type of surgery were reviewed by a trained general practitioner. SPSS version 10 was used for statistical analysis.


The mean age of women with breast cancer was 48.8. The highest frequency of malignancies was observed in the 40-49 age group (31.8%). Twenty-three percent of breast cancers were observed in women younger than 40 years. About 83 percent of malignant lesions in women were in T2, T3 or T4 at diagnosis. Only about 4 percent of women with breast cancers had tumors in stage I or in-situ carcinomas. Nearly 70 percent of the cancers were detected only after lymph node involvement. Only 4.3 percent of our female cases had the chance of conservative mastectomy. Twenty-eight percent of specimens from biopsies in women were malignant.


In Iran, breast cancer affects women at least one decade younger than their counterparts in developed countries. A considerable proportion of our cases (96%) were in stage II or III at diagnosis. These results show advanced cases at presentation in Iran which further mandate a national cancer detection program involving more effective public education and encouragement of women for breast self-examination and participation in screening campaigns.

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