Breast Cancer Deaths Falling in United States

But economic disparities persist in terms of screening, mortality

TUESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, the rate of death from breast cancer has fallen faster for wealthier women than for poor women, who are less likely to get screened for breast cancer, according to a report published online Oct. 3 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Carol DeSantis, M.P.H., of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues examined data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program of the National Cancer Institute to assemble an overview of breast cancer statistics for women in the United States.

The researchers estimate that 230,480 new breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2011, and that 39,520 women will die this year from breast cancer. Death rates due to breast cancer have fallen steadily for most women since the early 1990s, but the rate of decline state by state was associated with income; slower declines were observed in states with higher levels of poverty. Screening rates were also lower in poorer areas, with 51.4 percent of poor women undergoing mammogram screening compared with 72.8 percent of non-poor women.

"Continued progress in the control of breast cancer will require sustained and increased efforts to provide high-quality screening, diagnosis, and treatment to all segments of the population," the authors write.

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