DefinitionThe rate of death from cancer of the breast (ICD-10 C50) per 100,000 women.
NumeratorThe number of deaths due to breast cancer among women for a given time period (ICD-10 C50).
DenominatorThe female population of Utah or U.S. for a given time period.
Why Is This Important?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 and observational studies have demonstrated that routine screening with mammography can reduce breast cancer mortality by about 20% for women of average risk.^1^
Certain risk factors are linked to the development of breast cancer such as increased age, smoking, obesity, dense breast tissue, lower socioeconomic status, exposure to ionizing radiation, family history of breast cancer, BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations, alcohol consumption, and hormonal influence over time. Some studies indicate that environmental contaminants such as benzene and organic solvents can also cause mammary tumors, but clear links have not been established.[[br]]
''1. Myers ER, Moorman P, Gierisch JM, et al. Benefits and harms of breast cancer screening. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.13183.''
Healthy People Objective C-3:Reduce the female breast cancer death rate
U.S. Target: 20.7 deaths per 100,000 females
Other ObjectivesCSTE Chronic Disease Indicators
How Are We Doing?U.S. breast cancer mortality rates decreased significantly from 26.6 deaths per 100,000 females in 1999 to 19.8 deaths per 100,000 females in 2018. Breast cancer mortality rates in Utah have also decreased over time (though not as significantly), from 21.8 deaths per 100,000 females in 1999 to 20 deaths per 100,000 females in 2020.
Breast cancer mortality rates in Utah increase significantly with age. For combined years 2016-2020 there were 217.1 deaths due to breast cancer per 100,000 women aged 85 years or older, the highest rate among all age groups. In comparison for the same time period, there were 37.2 deaths per 100,000 women aged 55-64, 56.6 deaths per 100,000 women aged 65-74, and 106.4 deaths per 100,000 women aged 75-84 attributed to breast cancer.
There are also differences in breast cancer mortality rates distributed geographically. From 2016 to 2020, Wasatch County Health District had the highest breast cancer mortality rate of 24.0 deaths per 100,000 women, while Central Health District had the lowest rate with 11.0 deaths per 100,000 women. Geographical distribution of breast cancer deaths can also be viewed in more detail at the Utah Small Area level (see additional data views).
Differences in breast cancer death rates are also apparent for different racial and ethnic groups in Utah. For combined years 2016-2020, Hispanic women had a significantly lower age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate (13.3 deaths per 100,000 women) than non-Hispanic women (19.7 deaths per 100,000 women). When looking at breast cancer mortality rates by race for the same time period, Asian women had significantly lower breast cancer death rates (6.7 deaths per 100,000 women) than all races combined (19.3 deaths per 100,000 women), while Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander women had the highest breast cancer death rates (29.7 deaths per 100,000 women).
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?On average, Utah has 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. (25.7 per 100,000 Utah females died from breast cancer compared with 23.6 U.S. females), though this was not a statistically significant difference.
In 2018, the U.S. breast cancer mortality rate was 19.8 per 100,000 females compared with the Utah rate of 20.1 per 100,000 females; this is also not a statistically significant difference.
What Is Being Done?The Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) at the Utah Department of Health distributes free mammography vouchers to women 40 years or older who are uninsured/under-insured and meet moderate income guidelines. Eligible women with abnormal screening exams are offered diagnostic evaluation by participating providers. The UCCP is able to refer Utah women in need of treatment for breast and cervical cancers for full Medicaid benefits.
The Utah Comprehensive Cancer Control program (CCC) and its affiliated coalition, the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN), work together with state and local partners to reduce the burden of cancer in Utah. Their mission is to lower cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality in Utah through collaborative efforts directed toward cancer prevention and control. As a result, they support community-based strategies around food security, healthy neighborhoods, access to health care, and financial toxicity in order to prevent cancer; detect cancer early; and improve the lives of cancer survivors, caregivers, and their families.
Additionally, CCC receives funding to implement cancer prevention and control strategies identified by the program and UCAN coalition.
Health Program InformationIn 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.
UCCP continues to receive funding from the CDC for breast and cervical cancer screening. Additionally, the Utah Comprehensive Cancer Control program (CCC) receives funding to implement cancer prevention and control strategies identified by the program and the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN) coalition.