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Invasive Breast Cancer Mortality Rates on the Decline

As early screening protocols and treatments continue to improve, researchers are reporting that deaths related to invasive breast cancer are on the decline. The numbers have dropped, in fact, by a third since 1988.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute looked at data related to invasive breast cancer deaths from 1973 to 2010 and found rather sizeable reductions in the numbers during this period. While the overall death rates were relatively stable, they showed a 33.5 percent decline between the period of 1988 and 2010.

Improvements in mortality rates were marked in women under the age of 70, researchers noted, as well as in those with local and regional forms of the disease. The mortality rates also improved after the first five-year mark, the study noted.

For women over the age of 70, the number of deaths also declined. While researchers credited treatment protocols for the better rates in younger women, they say in older women the improved numbers can be attributed to not only treatment but also detection of smaller lesions.

To arrive at the findings, researchers used the NCI Surveillance, epidemiology, and End Results Registries Database. This database covers about 10 percent of the U.S. population. Data included more than 500,000 women with first primary invasive breast cancer. It also included another 463,000 women with follow-up between 1973 and 2010.
More than 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. An estimated 40,000 women die from the disease each year. Women are urged to conduct self-exams and go in for routine screening to help detect this disease in its earliest stages. Speaking out breast cancer risks with a healthcare provider can also be helpful for women who are seeking to lower their potential risk for this disease. Early detection and treatment can greatly improve survivability potential.

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