U.S. Breast Cancer Rates Drop

By Dr. Timothy Johnson | 

Breast cancer death rates continue to drop in the U.S., but racial disparities persist.

Another troubling find to medical experts is the decrease in the number of women getting mammograms.

A new report from the American Cancer Society finds there is much to celebrate in the fight against breast cancer--a woman's chance of dying from breast cancer continues to drop by more than two-percent per year.

More than 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive 10 years later. The latest statistics show a sharp drop in new cases of breast cancer, due in part to fewer women using hormone replacement therapy.

But the report also reveals some persistent racial disparities. While the rate of breast cancer has decreased for white women, it remains relatively stable among African Americans, Asian and Hispanic women.

African American women are still more likely to die of breast cancer than white women in every age group.

In addition, research shows fewer women are getting regular mammograms for early detection of breast cancer. The percentage of women 40 and older who had a recent mammogram declined from 70 percent in 2000 to 66 percent in 2005.

There's no 100-percent sure-fire way to avoid breast cancer.

If possible, doctors recommend women should:

  • Avoid long-term hormone replacement therapy
  • Have children before age 30
  • Avoid excessive weight gain
  • Limit alcohol consumption to one drink-a-day or less

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