Positive News in Breast Cancer Rates

Breast cancer remains one of the most common cancers in women and often develops during a very busy period of a woman’s life.   Fortunately, between office based breast exams and regular mammograms, we’ve made a lot of headway in catching the disease at earlier and earlier stages.   But recently there’s been good news on the actual amount of breast cancer we’re seeing overall.

A study published in January in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed that, between 1999 and 2018, the overall incidence of breast cancer had decreased, but it is now more frequent in women between 20 and 39 years old and in non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander women. 

The study analyzed data from the U.S. Cancer Statistics that showed an average breast cancer incidence decrease of 0.3% per year in women over 20 years old. There was a 2.1% annual decrease between 1999 and 2004, but a 0.3% annual increase between 2004 and 2018. Moreover, breast cancer incidence has increased among women between 20 and 39 years old and in non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander women, but decreased in non-Hispanic White women and women between 50 and 64 years old, and over 75 years of age.

One likely contributor to the decline in the earlier part of the study period is the sudden, large decrease in use of hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women after the release of the WHI study.

It’s important to be aware of risk factors for breast cancer that are modifiable, the most common include:

  • excess body weight (among postmenopausal women)
  • physical inactivity
  • alcohol use
  • hormone replacement therapy us


The difference shown in demographic characteristics suggests that cancer prevention and control programs need to be designed to satisfy individual States needs and that discussing potential breast cancer risk with health care providers could be beneficial for women between 20 and 49 years old.


El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, Pooja Gupta, and Christina Lam, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano has also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.

All of our physicians are El Camino Hospital doctors and operate and deliver at the Mountain View campus.

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