News | Breast Imaging | February 10, 2021

Breast Cancer Death Rates Stop Declining in Younger Women

Comparison of breast cancer mortality rates (red squares) and distant-stage breast cancer incidence rates from SEER9 (blue dots) and SEER18 (green dots) per 100,000 for white women aged, A, 20–39, B, 40–69, and, C, 70–79 years (3,7,8).

Comparison of breast cancer mortality rates (red squares) and distant-stage breast cancer incidence rates from SEER9 (blue dots) and SEER18 (green dots) per 100,000 for white women aged, A, 20–39, B, 40–69, and, C, 70–79 years (3,7,8). Image courtesy of Radiology 

February 10, 2021 — Breast cancer death rates have stopped declining for women in the U.S. younger than age 40, ending a trend that existed from 1987 to 2010, according to a new study in Radiology. Researchers expressed hope that the findings would raise awareness of breast cancer in younger women and spur research into the causes behind the change.

Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in women in the U.S., accounting for 30% of all cancers in women. Although most invasive breast cancers occur in women age 40 years and older, 4% to 5% of cases happen in women younger than 40 years.

Statistics have shown steady decline in overall breast cancer mortality rates for American women since 1989. From 1989 to 2017, breast cancer mortality rates for all women in the U.S. decreased by 40%, a decrease attributed to improved treatment and increased rates of screening mammography use starting in the early to mid-1980s.

In the new study, researchers determined U.S. trends in female breast cancer mortality rates by 10-year age subgroups based on recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Analysis showed that from 2010 to 2017, mortality rates decreased between 1.2% and 2.2% per year for women in each age decade from 40 to 79 years but increased by a non-significant 0.5% per year for women 20 to 39 years of age.

"It's clear that mortality rates in women under 40 are no longer decreasing," said study lead author R. Edward Hendrick, Ph.D., clinical professor from the Department of Radiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado. "I estimate that in two to three years, the mortality rate will be increasing significantly in these women."

The changing mortality rate in younger women is likely related to an increase in distant-stage, or metastatic, breast cancers. The authors' analysis of invasive breast cancer incidence rates from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program found that distant-stage breast cancer incidence rates have increased by over 4% per year since the year 2000 in women ages 20 to 39 years, a much higher rate of increase than in women ages 40 and over.

Unlike breast cancer treatments, imaging recommendations for early detection vary by age. Women 40 and older are offered screening mammography for early breast cancer detection and over half of these women report being screened regularly. Screening is not done for women under 40 unless they are known to be at high risk for breast cancer.

According to the researchers, the continued decline in death rates in women over age 40 may reflect the benefit of regular screening for women in this age group. The difference in mortality trends for women under 40 and over 40 provides further evidence for the essential role mammography screening plays in decreasing breast cancer deaths, they said.

The researchers plan to continue studying these trends to learn more about why mortality rates have stopped declining in younger women.

"Our hope is that these findings focus more attention and research on breast cancer in younger women and what is behind this rapid increase in late-stage cancers," Hendrick said.

For more information: www.rsna.org

Related Content

After acquiring the molecular breast imaging (MBI) assets from GE Healthcare and Dilon Technologies, Inc., SmartBreast Corporation (SmartBreast), a privately held company focused on breast cancer screening and diagnosis, announced today that it has formed a partnership with FoxSemicon Integrated Technologies, Inc. (FITI) to manufacture molecular breast imaging (MBI) systems.
News | Breast Imaging | February 09, 2021
February 9, 2021 — After acquiring the...

Chart courtesy of the American Cancer Society

News | Breast Imaging | February 08, 2021
February 8, 2021 — Cancer ranks as a leading cause of death in every country in the world, and, for the first time,

Images in 69-year-old man with biopsy-confirmed Gleason score 7 (3+4) prostate cancer. (a) Pretreatment axial T2-weighted fast spin-echo MRI scan (repetition time msec/echo time msec, 3820/97) shows tumor in midline anterior transition zone (arrow). (b) Intraoperative MRI scan shows contoured rectal wall (red line), prostate margin (blue outline), and region of interest (orange outline). Because the urethra was included in planned treatment volume, a suprapubic catheter was placed for continuous bladder drainage during treatment. (c) Intraoperative MRI scan shows focused ultrasound beam path (blue) overlaid on treatment plan. Rectangles illustrate each sonication spot. (d) Thermal map image obtained during treatment with heat deposition color coded in red overlaid on sonication spot. (e) Axial gadopentetate dimeglumine-enhanced MRI scan (230/2.97) obtained immediately after treatment shows devascularized ablated volume (arrows). (f) Corresponding T2-weighted fast spin-echo MRI scan (3820/97) at 5 months after ablation shows complete involution of transition zone. All seven cores from treatment area margins were negative for cancer at biopsy. Image courtesy of the Radiological Society of North America

News | Prostate Cancer | February 05, 2021
February 5, 2021 — A technique that delivers...
Volpara Health, a health technology software company whose integrated breast care platform assists in the delivery of personalized patient care, announced the acquisition of CRA Health, LLC, a breast cancer risk assessment company spinoff from Massachusetts General Hospital — a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital.

Getty Images

News | Breast Imaging | February 02, 2021
February 2, 2021 — Volpara Health, a health technology software company whose integrated...
A nationwide panel of experts has developed the first mammography guidelines for older survivors of breast cancer, providing a framework for discussions between survivors and their physicians on the pros and cons of screening in survivors' later years.

Getty Images

News | Mammography | January 29, 2021
January 29, 2021 — A nationwide panel of experts has developed the first...
The four standard views of an individual mammogram were fed into Mirai. The image encoder mapped each view to a vector, and the image aggregator combined the four view vectors into a single vector for the mammogram. In this work, we used a single shared ResNet-18 as an image encoder, and a transformer as our image aggregator. The risk factor predictor module predicted all the risk factors used in the Tyrer-Cuzick model, including age, detailed family history, and hormonal factors, from the mammogram vector.

The four standard views of an individual mammogram were fed into Mirai. The image encoder mapped each view to a vector, and the image aggregator combined the four view vectors into a single vector for the mammogram. In this work, we used a single shared ResNet-18 as an image encoder, and a transformer as our image aggregator. The risk factor predictor module predicted all the risk factors used in the Tyrer-Cuzick model, including age, detailed family history, and hormonal factors, from the mammogram vector. The additive hazard layer combined information from both the image aggregator and risk factors (predicted or given) to predict coherent risk assessments across 5 years (Yr).

News | Breast Imaging | January 28, 2021
January 28, 2021 — A new machine learning algorithm based on...
Carestream continues global technology advancements in medical imaging with 70 patents over the past year
News | Digital Radiography (DR) | January 27, 2021
January 27, 2021 — Carestream Health earned 70 new patents in medical imaging in 2020 for advances in ...