Breast cancer mortality considerably down

30/10/2007 15:00

Over the past decade, breast cancer mortality has declined by one fifth and the decline continues in 2007. In the first six months of this year, 1.6 thousand women died from breast cancer, 5 percent fewer than in the same period of 2006.

Breast cancer mortality, 1980-2007*)

Breast cancer mortality, 1980-2007*)

*) First six months of 2007.

One quarter of women die from cancer

Cancer accounts for one quarter of female mortality. This proportion has been fairly stable over the past decade, but mortality due to the various types of cancer has shifted considerably. Ten years ago, breast cancer accounted for more than one quarter of female cancer deaths, whereas lung cancer accounted for one tenth. In the first half of 2007, lung and breast cancer both accounted for approximately 18 percent of all female cancer deaths.

Most common types of cancer in women

Most common types of cancer in women

Reduced risk of dying from breast cancer

The risk of dying from breast cancer has obviously declined since the mid-1990s, partly due to improved treatment methods and early detection of breast cancer by screening.

Breast cancer mortality by age, 1980-2007*)

Breast cancer mortality by age, 1980-2007*)

*) First six months of 2007.

Breast cancer mortality rate also down among older women

The average age for women to die from breast cancer was 69 in the first six months of 2007, as against 66 in 1980.
In the latter half of the 1990s, breast cancer mortality declined appreciably among women aged between 50 and 70. Since the late 1990s, breast cancer mortality also decreased considerably among women in the 70-80 age bracket. 
Breast cancer mortality in the 30 to 50-year-old female population has only marginally declined since 2002. In this age group breast cancer is the principal cause of death.

Jan Hoogenboezem and Joop Garssen

Source: High participation rate breast cancer screening programme