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PHOM Indicator Profile Report of Breast Cancer Deaths

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^ 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.[[br]] [[br]] ---- ''1. Myers ER, Moorman P, Gierisch JM, et al. Benefits and harms of breast cancer screening. JAMA. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.13183.''

Breast Cancer Deaths by Year, Utah and U.S., 1999-2017

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Data Sources

  • Utah Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
  • Population Estimates: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) through a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau, IBIS Version 2017
  • U.S. Underlying Cause of Death Data: WONDER Online Database. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed at []

Data Notes

Codes used to define female breast cancer: ICD-10 C50.   ^ ^[[br]] Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 standard population.

Risk Factors

The most important risk factor for breast cancer is increasing age. Other established risk factors include personal or family history of breast cancer, history of abnormal breast biopsy, genetic alterations, early age at onset of menses, late age at onset of menopause, never having children or having a first live birth at age 30 or older, and history of exposure to high dose radiation. Associations have also been suggested between breast cancer and oral contraceptives, long-term use of hormone replacement therapy, obesity (in post-menopausal women), alcohol, and a diet high in fat. Some studies suggest that exercise in youth might give life-long protection against breast cancer and that even moderate physical activity as an adult could lower breast cancer risk. More research is needed to confirm these findings.

How Are We Doing?

U.S. breast cancer mortality rates decreased significantly from 26.6 deaths per 100,000 females in 1999 to 19.9 deaths per 100,000 females in 2017. Breast cancer mortality rates in Utah increased significantly with age. For combined years 2013-2017 there were 229.3 deaths due to breast cancer per 100,000 women aged 85 years or older. This is in comparison to 39.3 deaths per 100,000 women aged 55-64, 58.4 deaths per 100,000 women aged 65-74, and 107.0 deaths per 100,000 women aged 75-84. From 2013 to 2017, Southeast Health District had the highest breast cancer mortality rate of 24.5 deaths per 100,000 women. TriCounty Health District had the lowest rate with 15.8 per 100,000 women. For Utah Small Areas, breast cancer mortality rates ranged from a high of 45.4 per 100,000 females in Grand County to a low of 7.2* in Weber County (East) for the same time period. For combined years 2013-2017, Hispanic women had a significantly lower age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate (11.7 per 100,000 women) than non-Hispanic women (20.3). When looking at breast cancer mortality rates by race, Asian women had a significantly lower rate (9.0 deaths per 100,000 women) than all races combined (19.8) for years 2013-2017. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander women had a significantly higher rate (37.4 deaths per 100,000 women) than all races combined.

What Is Being Done?

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. 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. 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.

Healthy People Objective: Reduce the female breast cancer death rate

U.S. Target: 20.7 deaths per 100,000 females

Date Indicator Content Last Updated: 12/11/2018

Other Views

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, 17 August 2019 21:11:22 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 13:03:28 MDT