In Connecticut, the female breast cancer incidence rate for 2010 was 138.5 per 100,000, significantly higher than the rate for the U.S. as a whole. Breast cancer incidence rates and historical trends differ between racial and ethnic groups. Throughout the entire time period the incidence rate in white women has been higher than any other race or ethnicity.
Breast cancer incidence rates in Connecticut women, 1975-2010.
Connecticut has the second highest state incidence rate of breast cancer in the nation. The relatively high socioeconomic status (SES) of women living in Connecticut is one of the factors contributing to the comparatively high incidence rate. Women with higher SES tend to have a higher likelihood of developing breast cancer as they start childbearing later in life and have fewer children, both of which are risk factors for breast cancer. (7) In addition, higher SES is associated with higher compliance with screening mammography, which could increase incidence rates. The difference in childbearing practices and screening mammography rates may also, in part, explain the differences seen in incidence rates between black and white women. The high breast cancer incidence rate in Hispanic women in Connecticut, relative to their counterparts in the nation as a whole, may be explained in part by the high proportion of Puerto Ricans in Connecticut compared to the U.S. (53 percent of Hispanic population in Connecticut versus nine percent in the U.S.).(8) A study of cancer rates in Florida Hispanics has indicated that Puerto Rican Hispanics have cancer rates higher than do other Hispanic subpopulations. (9)
In Connecticut, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women. In 2010, the breast cancer mortality rate in women was 23.2 Per 100,000, lower than the national rate with Connecticut ranking 35th in the nation. Overall, mortality rates have been declining since 1975. In 1975, mortality rates in black women were lower than in white women, a pattern that mirrored incidence rates. However, since 1992 mortality rates in black women have been higher than mortality rates in white women, despite blacks continuing to have lower incidence rates; notably the gap between white and black mortality rates has been increasing. The breast cancer mortality rates in Hispanic women are considerably lower than in white and black women and have been decreasing over the period 1990-2008. Breast cancer mortality rates are declining for several reasons, including improvement in treatment for breast cancer and detection of breast cancers at an earlier more treatable stage due to screening mammography.
Breast cancer mortality rates in Connecticut women, 1975-2010.
The five-year relative survival rates for women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001-2007 were significantly lower for black women than for white and Hispanic women (79.5 percent versus 92.3 percent and 88.8 percent, respectively). The higher proportion of late stage diagnoses in black women (6.6 percent of breast cancer diagnoses in 2004-2008, compared with 4.5 percent in white women) undoubtedly contributes to this disparity. However, other factors including tumor subtype, patient socio-demographic characteristics and access to quality treatment also impact patient outcomes. (10)