Breast cancer rates continue to drop

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 21, 2007

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A recently noted drop in breast cancer cases in 2002 and 2003 was preceded by an earlier decrease that began in the late 1990s, according to a new study that appeared online May 3 in Breast Cancer Research.

The more recent drop occurred among women ages 50 to 69 and was attributed to a sharp decline in the use of hormone therapy among this age group. The earlier downturn occurred among women in all age groups, 45 and older, and was determined to reflect a leveling off of mammography rates.

Regular mammography screening starts at 40, and hormone therapy is most common among women ages 50 or older.

The researchers say several factors point to a plateau in screening mammography as being the cause of the drop that started in 1998 and 1999: The declines were seen in multiple age groups at the same time; decreases were greatest among women who had small tumors and localized disease that is most commonly detected by mammograms; and the decrease coincided with a plateau in mammography usage as measured by national surveys.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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