Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with 1.38 million new cases diagnosed in 2008. This represents about 11% of all new cancer cases and 23% of all female cancers.
Breast cancer is hormone related, and the factors that modify the risk of this cancer when diagnosed premenopausally and when diagnosed (much more commonly) postmenopausally are not the same.
The Continuous Update Project Panel judged that for premenopausal breast cancer there was convincing evidence that consuming alcoholic drinks increases the risk of this cancer and lactation protects against it. Adult attained height and greater birth weight are probably causes of this cancer and body fatness probably protects against this cancer.
The Panel judged that for postmenopausal breast cancer there was convincing evidence that consuming alcoholic drinks, body fatness and adult attained height increase the risk of this cancer and lactation protects against it. Abdominal fatness and adult weight gain are probably causes of this cancer and physical activity probably protects against it.
Preventability estimates show that about 28% of cases of breast cancer in Brazil can be prevented by not drinking alcohol, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.
The countries with the top 20 highest incidence of breast cancer are given in the table below.
- Belgium has the highest rate of breast cancer, followed by Denmark and France.
- The number of cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2008 is equally spread between more and less developed countries (around 50% for each).
- The highest incidence of breast cancer is in Australia and New Zealand, Northern Europe and Northern America; and the lowest incidence in South-Central Asia and, Middle and Eastern Africa.
|Rank||Country||Age-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)|
|19||United States of America||76.0|
Source: GLOBOCAN 2008 database (version 1.2) http://globocan.iarc.fr
Rate of new cases of breast cancer in Europe was more than double that in Africa in 2008
The highest rates were observed in Oceania and Northern America - about 77 per 100,000 populations