Target prevention measures based on age and location may help stem the rising rates of breast cancer among women globally, according to a new study published in The Lancet Global Health.

Breast cancer rates among women are on the rise although it is largely thought to be a disease of the developed world, according to the press release. However, World Health Organization data show that 50% of breast cancer cases and 58% of breast cancer deaths occur in developing nations.  

Researchers from the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the Cumming School of Medicine looked at data on women from 44 different populations. Each population represents a country or ethnic group, as the study also highlights inequalities in cancer mortality, according to the press release. 

The study showed that postmenopausal breast cancer in significantly increasing in 24 of the 44 populations studied, whereas premenopausal breast cancer was increasing in 20 of the 44 populations. For postmenopausal breast cancer, the increase was most notable in countries that are undergoing transitions from lower to higher income status, according to press release. Researchers said this may be a result of these countries adopting more Western lifestyles that include unhealthy behavior, such as increased alcohol consumption and decreased physical activity.    

"The findings from this study shows important differences in the breast cancer burden by age and point to the need for prevention initiatives such as efforts to reduce obesity and alcohol consumption, increase physical activity and breastfeeding--all of which reduce one's risk for developing breast cancer," Miranda Fidler-Benaoudia, PhD, epidemiologist at CancerControl Alberta, Alberta Health Services, and adjunct assistant professor in the departments of Oncology and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine, said in the press release. 

Researchers said this is the first study that investigates the global trends and rates of premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer. Researchers hope that the study can help direct preventative measures. 

Reference:
UCalgary study finds global trends in women's breast cancer show cause for concern (News Release) Calgary, Canada, July 23, 2020, EurekAlert! Accessed July 23, 2020