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There is evidence of an increasing burden of premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer worldwide, according to a study published in the August issue of The Lancet Global Health.

Emily Heer, from Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada, and colleagues conducted a population-based analysis of global breast cancer incidence and mortality among premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

The researchers found that in 2018, about 645,000 premenopausal and 1.4 million postmenopausal breast cancer cases were diagnosed worldwide; in each menopausal group, there were more than 130,000 and 490,000 deaths, respectively. Compared with higher-income countries, countries with a low United Nations Development Programme human development index (HDI) faced a greater burden of premenopausal breast cancer for both new cases and deaths. The highest premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer incidence was seen for countries with a very high HDI (30.6 and 253.6 cases per 100,000, respectively), while the highest premenopausal and postmenopausal mortality was seen for countries with low and medium HDI (8.5 and 53.3 deaths per 100,000, respectively). Significantly increasing age-standardized incidence rates were seen for premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer in 20 and 24 of 44 populations, respectively. Growth exclusively at premenopausal ages mainly occurred in high-income countries, while in countries under transition, the increasing premenopausal breast cancer burden was most notable.

“Our study provides evidence of a rising burden of both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer worldwide and wide inequities in breast cancer care,” the authors write.




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