Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women worldwide, in both developing and developed countries. Cells in the breast begin to overdevelop and eventually form a tumor; when that tumor can spread into surrounding tissues, it becomes malignant. Causes of breast cancer are unclear, but health experts have identified factors that lead to increased risk. Some factors are unavoidable. Sex, race and ethnicity, age, family history, inherited genes, early menstruation, and late menopause are all unavoidable contributors to breast cancer. White women have a higher probability of developing breast cancer. Although, in US patients under the age of 45, breast cancer is more common in African American women. Women of Asian, Native American, and Hispanic ethnicity are least likely to develop breast cancer.
Some lifestyle risks that can be controlled include alcohol consumption, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, not having children before age 30, and taking birth control and postmenopausal hormone therapy. Nearly 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed in 2012, representing 25% of all cancers in women. Current statistics suggest that breast cancer is more likely to occur in developed countries, although that could be due to a lack of diagnoses in less developed regions of the world. Early detection is the best way to treat and prevent the spread of breast cancer. Below is a look at which countries have the highest breast cancer rates.
Countries With The Highest Prevalence Of Breast Cancer
The majority of countries with high breast cancer rates are located in Europe. Belgium has the highest incidence with 111.9 people out of every 100,000 developing the disease yearly. This figure is closely followed by Denmark with 105/100,000 diagnoses every year, France with 104.5, and The Netherlands with 99 new cases out of every 100,000 people. Avoidable risk factors have been attributed to this number. Many experts claim that the westernized lifestyle has increased cancer risk. These nations have also practiced significant levels of hormonal replacement therapy in the past, the results of which are recently showing up as increased breast cancer diagnoses. These countries also have thorough mammographic screening programs that result in early detection, increased diagnoses, and higher survival rates.
The Bahamas is number 5 on the list and has a breast cancer rate of 98.9. This figure equates to just about 1 out of every ten women. Scientists are still researching why, but evidence suggests that women in the Bahamas are carriers of three kinds of breast cancer genes. Nearly 24% of the women here carry the genes, making the Bahamas the country with the highest prevalence of this genetic mutation. This discovery has led to increased screening measures which could help with early detection and ultimately, survival.
Iceland is next on the list with 96.3 out of every 100,000 people being diagnosed with the disease. The high occurrence here seems to be related to genetics as well.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Treatment options for breast cancer diagnoses depend on the advancement stage of the cancer. Localized treatment includes surgery to remove the tumor and radiation therapy which concentrates high energy rays directly to the tumor site. When the cancer is more advanced, a whole body approach must be taken. These treatments involve chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. The drugs administered attack cancer cells anywhere in the body. Advances in breast cancer treatment now include combining mastectomies with plastic surgery, new drugs that prevent genetic mutation based cancers, and bone-directed drugs that help prevent bone fractures when breast cancer has metastasized throughout the body.