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Breast cancer diagnoses and deaths decline in Greater Bay Area

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The Northern California Cancer Center has released its annual report, “Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the Greater Bay Area, 1988-2003," tracking statistics of cancer diagnoses and deaths due to cancer. NCCC collects data to monitor cancer patterns and trends in the nine-county Bay Area and is an active partner in Stanford University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

According to the report, rates in the occurrence of invasive breast cancer have declined in all racial/ethnic groups since 2000, with a more substantial drop occurring in 2003. Breast cancer death rates have been gradually declining in the Bay Area since 1988.

In Marin County, the rate of breast cancer occurrence among white women still remains higher than in other Bay Area counties, but has decreased from previous years. For the 1999-2003 period, breast cancer incidence rates were 167 per 100,000 in Marin county white women, lower than the rate of 174 for the 1998-2002 period. These rates compare to an average rate of 158 per 100,000 white women in the Bay Area as a whole for 1999-2003.

Rates of breast cancer per 100,000 white women living in other Bay Area counties were as follows for 1999-2003: San Mateo (165), Contra Costa (162), San Francisco (159), Santa Clara (154). Rates were somewhat lower in Monterey (147), Santa Cruz (142) and San Benito (139) counties. 

A recent study by scientists at the Northern California Cancer Center suggests that the declines in breast cancer diagnoses in Northern California may be due to the declining use of hormone replacement therapies. Results of the study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Breast cancer still remains the most frequently occurring cancer in females in the Greater Bay Area, with 66,491 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed from 1988 to 2003, and comprising about 30 percent of all new cancer diagnoses among women in the region. Data more recent than 2003 are not yet considered complete for the purpose of assessing patterns and trends in cancer. 

The report includes information on all incident cancer cases and all cancer deaths occurring from 1988 through 2003 among residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties. The statistics are presented by tumor anatomical site and by patient age at diagnosis, sex, race/ethnicity, year of diagnosis, and county of residence. The data are collected by the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry (GBACR), a state and federally funded cancer registry operated by the Northern California Cancer Center.

About Northern California Cancer Center

The Northern California Cancer Center is an established, nationally recognized leader dedicated to understanding the causes and prevention of cancer and to improve the quality of life for individuals living with cancer. NCCC has been working with scientists, educators, patients, clinicians, and community leaders successfully since 1974, and is an active partner in Stanford University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. NCCC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with over 160 employees and a $15 million operating budget.

Posted: 10/10/06

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