SAN ANTONIO — Looming demographic shifts in the United States over the coming 20 years are projected to result in major increases in breast cancer cases among the elderly and in minorities.
Now is the time to start planning for these changes, particularly since older individuals and minorities are groups at increased risk for suboptimal cancer care, Dr. Benjamin D. Smith asserted at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Using population projections obtained from the Census Bureau along with age- and gender-based breast cancer incidence rates derived from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database for 2003–2005, he and his coworkers estimated that the number of cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in American women would increase by 30% from 226,000 in 2010 to 294,000 in 2030.
Meanwhile, because of the graying of the population, the annual number of women aged 65 years and older who are diagnosed with breast cancer is expected to jump by 57%—nearly double the overall rate, according to Dr. Smith of Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio.
Over the same 2 decades, invasive breast cancer cases in Hispanics are projected to climb by 106%, in African Americans by 48%, and in Asian/Pacific Islanders by 100% (see chart).
The National Cancer Institute's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities has identified the elderly and minorities as groups traditionally experiencing disparities in breast cancer care, partially. because they have been underrepresented in clinical trials, Dr. Smith noted.
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