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Health Indicator Report of Breast Cancer Deaths

Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in U.S. women (excluding basal and squamous cell skin cancers) and a leading cause of female cancer deaths in both Utah and the U.S. Nationally, deaths from lung cancer surpass deaths from breast cancer; however, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Utah women. Deaths from breast cancer can be substantially reduced if the tumor is discovered at an early stage. Mammography is currently the best method for detecting cancer early. Clinical trials have demonstrated that routine screening with mammography can reduce breast cancer deaths by 20% to 30% in women aged 50 to 69 years [1-6], and by about 17% in women aged 40 to 49 years [7,8]. We do not yet know exactly what causes breast cancer, but we do know that certain risk factors are linked to the disease. Some of these risk factors include age, socioeconomic status, exposure to ionizing radiation, family history, alcohol, and hormonal influence. Some studies indicate that environmental contaminants such as benzene and organic solvents can cause mammary tumors, but clear links have not been established.

Breast Cancer Deaths by Year, Utah and U.S., 1980-2013


Codes used to define female breast cancer: ICD-9 174, ICD-10 C50. Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 standard population.

Data Sources

  • Utah Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
  • Population Estimates: Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget
  • Population Estimates: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) through a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau, IBIS Version 2013

Data Interpretation Issues

ICD-10 code C50 also includes male breast cancer. Rates were comparability modified, but because there are so few male breast cancer deaths, this was not believed to have introduced any noticeable artifact into the rates.


The rate of death from cancer of the breast (ICD-9 174, ICD-10 C50) per 100,000 women.


The number of deaths due to breast cancer among women for a given time period (ICD-9: 174 and ICD-10: C50).


The female population of Utah or U.S. for a given time period.

Healthy People Objective C-3:

Reduce the female breast cancer death rate
U.S. Target: 20.6 deaths per 100,000 females
State Target: 20.6 deaths per 100,000 females

Other Objectives

Utah's 42 Community Health Indicators CSTE Chronic Disease Indicators

How Are We Doing?

Utah's age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate did not change appreciably from 1980 to 1998 (26.8 per 100,000 females and 27.0 per 100,000 females, respectively). The mortality rate decreased to 21.8 per 100,000 females in 1999, and in 2013 the rate was 20.3 per 100,000 females. Breast cancer mortality rates increased significantly with age, from 1.5 per 100,000 women ages 1-44 to 194.6 per 100,000 women ages 85 and older. From 2009 to 2013, Utah Small Area breast cancer mortality rates ranged from a high of 35.6 per 100,000 females in Orem (East) to a low of 10.3 per 100,000 females in South Salt Lake (excluding Small Areas with incomplete data).

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

On average, Utah has consistently had a lower age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate than the U.S. However, in 2006 Utah experienced a higher breast cancer mortality rate than the U.S. In Utah, 25.7 per 100,000 females died from breast cancer compared with 23.6 per 100,000 U.S. females. This was not a statistically significant difference. In 2011 (the most recent U.S. data available through SEER), the U.S. breast cancer mortality rate was 21.5 compared with Utah's rate of 20.6. This was not a statistically significant difference.

What Is Being Done?

The 2000 Utah legislature approved a resolution encouraging private health insurance companies and employers to include insurance coverage for the screening and detection of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers. The Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) in the Utah Department of Health distributes free mammography vouchers to women who receive a clinical breast exam at a UCCP sponsored clinic and meet age and income guidelines. In addition, the Utah Department of Health initiated the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN), a statewide partnership whose goal is to reduce the burden of cancer. The mission of the UCAN is to lower cancer incidence and mortality in Utah through collaborative efforts directed toward cancer prevention and control. As a result of this planning process, objectives and strategies have been developed by community partners regarding the early detection of cervical, testicular, prostate, skin, breast, and colorectal cancers as well as the promotion of physical activity, healthy eating habits, and smoking cessation.

Available Services

The Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) provides free to low cost clinical breast exams and mammograms to women who meet age and income guidelines. Eligible women with abnormal screening exams are offered diagnostic evaluation by participating providers. As of July 1, 2001, the UCCP is able to refer Utah women in need of treatment for breast and cervical cancers for full Medicaid benefits. The women must meet all requirements as outlined in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act.

Health Program Information

In 1976, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) received a cervical cancer grant from the National Cancer Institute. In 1980, the UDOH began providing clinical breast exams and Pap tests on a sliding fee scale. In 1993, state funding was appropriated for mammography. That same year, the Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) first received a capacity building grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct breast and cervical cancer screening in Utah. A comprehensive grant was awarded to the program in 1994 to continue breast and cervical cancer screening. Since 1994, the UCCP and partners, including local health departments, mammography facilities, pathology laboratories, and private providers, have worked together to ensure the appropriate and timely provision of clinical services. The UCCP continues to receive funding from the CDC for breast and cervical cancer screening. Additionally, the UCCP receives funding to implement comprehensive cancer control strategies that were identified by the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN) statewide partnership.
Page Content Updated On 11/03/2014, Published on 12/02/2014
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sat, 28 November 2015 15:01:05 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:46:08 MDT