It may be a statistical blip and not a trend, but nonetheless, the Washington Post reports some very good news today: For the first time in decades, the rate of new breast cancer cases has leveled off, after increasing at a steady rate since the 1980s through 2001.
In fact, the diagnosis rate may have actually fallen, from 137.3 per 100,000 women in 2001 to 133.8 in 2002, which is not significant. However, the rate dropped to 124.2 in 2003, which may be the beginning of a downward dip, say experts. There is a time lag for gathering the statistics so the 2004 numbers are just beginning to trickle in. It will take some time to discern whether these new numbers are a encouraging pattern, or are due to underreporting in 2003 or some other statistical anomaly.
The experts speculate that the following reasons may account for the leveling off in the breast cancer rate: The increasing use of mammography. A stabilization in the number of women delaying childbirth. The decline in the use of hormones after menopause.
Nearly 41,000 women die of breast cancer every year, and it is the second largest cancer killer of women after lung cancer.
Things are looking hopeful . . .
Published On: September 08, 2006