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Publication Abstract

Authors: Sturgeon SR, Schairer C, Gail M, McAdams M, Brinton LA, Hoover RN

Title: Geographic variation in mortality from breast cancer among white women in the United States.

Journal: J Natl Cancer Inst 87(24):1846-53

Date: 1995 Dec 20

Abstract: BACKGROUND: For several decades, mortality from breast cancer has been higher in the northeastern part of the United States than in other regions, particularly the South. Rates have also been somewhat higher in the Midwest and West than in the South, especially among older women. The reasons for these geographic variations are not well understood. PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to evaluate geographic differences in U.S. breast cancer mortality rates in 1987, after taking into account regional differences in the distribution of recognized breast cancer risk factors (e.g., late age at first live birth) and certain prognostic factors (e.g., mammography use). METHODS: The 1987 breast cancer mortality rates for four regions of the country were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics. Regional data on the distribution of breast cancer risk factors were obtained from 1987 National Health Interview Cancer Epidemiology Supplement interviews with 9778 white women aged 20-79 years. Regional data on the distribution of mammography use were obtained from 1987 National Health Interview Cancer Control Supplement interviews with 3795 white women aged 50-79 years. RESULTS: Age-adjusted mortality ratios (MRs) among women 50 years and older were 1.15, 1.18, and 1.30 in the West, Midwest, and Northeast, respectively, compared with the South. Corresponding MRs among women 20-49 years old were 1.01, 1.08, and 1.07 in the West, Midwest, and Northeast, respectively, compared with the South. After adjustment for recognized risk factors and certain prognostic factors, MRs among older women were 1.13 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04-1.23), 1.08 (95% CI = 1.01-1.16), and 1.13 (95% CI = 1.04-1.23) in the West, Midwest, and Northeast, respectively, compared with the South. Corresponding MRs among younger women were 0.94 (95% CI = 0.76-1.16), 1.05 (95% CI = 0.92-1.18), and 0.99 (95% CI = 0.86-1.14), respectively. CONCLUSION: Before adjustment for regional differences in recognized risk factors and prognostic factors, mortality excesses among younger women in the Northeast, Midwest, and West were less than 10% compared with the South. After adjustment, MRs were near unity for all regions. Among older women, the excess mortality was more substantial before adjustment for relevant factors, ranging from 15% in the West to 30% in the Northeast. Approximately 50% of the excesses in the Northeast and Midwest and 10% of the excess in the West could be explained on the basis of regional differences in the prevalence of recognized breast cancer risk factors and prognostic factors. After adjustment for these factors, the magnitude of excess in breast cancer mortality in the Northeast (13%) was comparable to that in the West (13%) but still slightly higher than that in the Midwest (8%).

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013