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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2015 Oct;24(10):1495-506. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-15-0535. Epub 2015 Sep 10.

International Variation in Female Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality Rates.

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American Cancer Society Intramural Research, Atlanta, Georgia.
Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.
American Cancer Society Intramural Research, Atlanta, Georgia.
Breast Health Global Initiative, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.



Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death among women worldwide. Herein, we examine global trends in female breast cancer rates using the most up-to-date data available.


Breast cancer incidence and mortality estimates were obtained from GLOBOCAN 2012 ( We analyzed trends from 1993 onward using incidence data from 39 countries from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and mortality data from 57 countries from the World Health Organization.


Of 32 countries with incidence and mortality data, rates in the recent period diverged-with incidence increasing and mortality decreasing-in nine countries mainly in Northern/Western Europe. Both incidence and mortality decreased in France, Israel, Italy, Norway, and Spain. In contrast, incidence and death rates both increased in Colombia, Ecuador, and Japan. Death rates also increased in Brazil, Egypt, Guatemala, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mexico, and Moldova.


Breast cancer mortality rates are decreasing in most high-income countries, despite increasing or stable incidence rates. In contrast and of concern are the increasing incidence and mortality rates in a number of countries, particularly those undergoing rapid changes in human development. Wide variations in breast cancer rates and trends reflect differences in patterns of risk factors and access to and availability of early detection and timely treatment.


Increased awareness about breast cancer and the benefits of early detection and improved access to treatment must be prioritized to successfully implement breast cancer control programs, particularly in transitioning countries.

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