South Korea has seen the steepest increase in breast cancer mortality out of a number of countries analyzed over a period from 1987 through 2013, but the rate of breast cancer death is still lower in South Korea than it is in the United States. In South Korea, the rate of breast cancer mortality is 5.3 per 100,000 women, but in the United States, the rate of breast cancer mortality is 14 per 100,000 women, according to data recently presented at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in Texas.
Cecile Pizot of the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, led the recently presented study. Pizot believes that the rise of breast cancer mortality in South Korea could be attributed to a major shift in South Korea. Pizot said that South Korea was a largely agrarian nation in recent history but has become significantly industrialized and westernized. Quick changes towards industrialization and westernization might explain the shift in cancer mortality in South Korea, according to Medical News Today. For example, South Korea didn’t get its first McDonald’s fast food restaurant until the 1988 Seoul Olympics in Apgujeong-dong, according to a Getchee blog post.
The study presented in Texas this month revealed that over the 25-year period, rates of breast cancer mortality fell in the majority of the 47 nations that were analyzed. The team found that deaths attributed to breast cancer had dropped off in 39 out of the 47 countries.
“Comparing mortality trends between countries helps identify which healthcare systems have been the most efficient at reducing breast cancer mortality,” Pizot said, explaining the purpose of the research.
She and her team used data from the World Health Organization.
While rates of breast cancer mortality have risen among women in South Korea as it has become more industrialized and more westernized, breast cancer mortality in the U.S. fell 42 percent during the time period examined, Medical News Today reported.
“In 1987-1989 there were 22 deaths per 100,000 women, which dropped to 14 per 100,000 in 2011-2013. Rates of death to breast cancer fell for women in the U.S. across all age groups over the period, halving in women under 50, falling by 44 percent in the 50-69 age group, and falling by 31 percent in those aged 70 and over.”
“Differences in healthcare systems and patient management could explain discrepancies in mortality reduction between similar countries. However, there is at present little data comparing the management of breast cancer patients across countries,” Pizot stated.
In other fascinating breast cancer science, a study on mice once revealed that mice fed an extract equivalent to a 132-pound woman, eating only the flesh and skin of just two or three peaches each day, exhibited inhibited breast cancer growth and the prevention of the breast cancer’s spread to other organs. Separately, an article published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment claimed that measles therapy, involving an injection of infectious measles, “has significant anti-tumor effect against human breast cancer cells in vitro.”
The 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium was held on December 6 through December 10. The biggest decline in mortality rates from breast cancer was found in England and Wales. In the U.K., breast cancer screening is offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 at a frequency of once every three years, according to the NHS website. In England, the breast cancer screening program now includes women aged 47 to 73, according to Cancer Research U.K.
Still, the researchers who presented the information from their study noted that there seems to be no link between screening and rates of death attributed to breast cancer. Pizot stated that in similar nations, they found very little difference in death rates from breast cancer even in nations where one began mammography screening significantly earlier than the other. In one instance, there was very little difference between a country that began screening in the 1980s versus another that didn’t begin screening until 2005.
The abstract is available online and states clearly that breast cancer screening doesn’t appear to affect the trends in deaths associated with breast cancer.
“The situation in high income Asian countries is not easy to interpret because access to efficient therapies is commonplace. There seems to be no discernible influence of screening on mortality trends.”
A separate and older study published in the New England Journal of Medicine claimed that in order to save one life, 2,500 women would need to complete regular mammography screening for over an entire decade.
“South Korea had the most dramatic increase in breast cancer mortality, with an 83 percent increase overall and higher mortality increase in every age group,” an American Association for Cancer Research press release disclosed, adding that the breast cancer death rate is still lower in South Korea than it is in the United States.
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