Mammography and Hormone Use Are Correlated with Breast Cancer Rates

The Physicians Committee

Mammography and Hormone Use Are Correlated with Breast Cancer Rates

August 2, 2007

A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that breast cancer rates have been heavily influenced by the use of mammography and hormone therapy. Kaiser Permanente researchers tracked the incidence of invasive breast cancer from 1980 to 2006. Breast cancer rates paralleled the increased use of mammography from the 1980s through the early 1990s, suggesting that clinically insignificant tumors were being detected by mammography. A further rise in cancer rates during the 1990s paralleled the increased use of postmenopausal hormone therapy. The drop in hormone use after 2001 was quickly followed by a similar fall in breast cancer rates. These patterns were particularly evident among women over age 45 and with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers.

Two new reports from the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study show that diets including at least five fruit and vegetable servings a day reduce mortality by nearly 50 percent in women previously diagnosed with breast cancer.

Glass AG, Lacey JV, Carreon D, Hoover RN. Breast cancer incidence, 1980-2006: combined roles of menopausal hormone therapy, screening mammography, and estrogen receptor status. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007; 99:1152-1161.

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