Breast cancer mortality further down

30/09/2008 15:00

Breast cancer mortality declined further in 2007. For the first time,  breast cancer claimed fewer victims among women than lung cancer. Breast cancer is far less common among women with a non-western background.

Breast cancer mortality

Breast cancer mortality

Breast cancer currently in second place

Last year, 3,180 women died from breast cancer, nearly 5 percent fewer than in 2006, when 3,335 women died from breast cancer. Over the past decade, the risk of dying from breast cancer was reduced by more than a quarter. In 2007, lung cancer claimed more victims among women than breast cancer for the first time. Breast cancer mortality is still the prominent cause of death in 30 to 50-year-old women. One in six female deaths in this age category die from breast cancer.

Reduced risk of dying from breast cancer by age category, 1997–2007

Reduced risk of dying from breast cancer by age category, 1997–2007

Most substantial reduction in 70 to 80-year-olds

Last year, 370 women under the age of 50 died from breast cancer, as against 513 a decade ago. The breast cancer mortality rate also dropped among women aged 50 years and older. Proportionally, the risk of dying from breast cancer dropped most substantially among 70 to 80-year-old women. The introduction of the national breast cancer screening programme plays an important part in this respect.

Breast cancer mortality by ethnic background, 2005–2007

Breast cancer mortality by ethnic background, 2005–2007

Low breast cancer incidence rate among Turkish and Moroccan women

Breast cancer is much rarer among women with a non-western background than among native Dutch women. In relative terms, the risk is lowest in Turkish and Moroccan women. This applies in particular to the first generation who were born abroad. The mortality risk for the second generation (born in the Netherlands) approximates the risk for native Dutch women.

 Breast cancer in European countries, 2006

Breast cancer in European countries, 2006

Dutch mortality rate still relatively high

Despite the reduction, breast cancer mortality in the Netherlands is still one of the highest in Europe. This is probably due to a variety of factors, e.g. first-time mothers are relatively old and few women breastfeed their child.

Joop Garssen and Jan Hoogenboezem