European Network of Cancer Registries
International Agency for Research on Cancer
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EUROPEAN NETWORK OF CANCER REGISTRIES
INTERNATIONAL AGENCY FOR RESEARCH ON CANCER
ENCR CANCER FACT SHEETS
VOL. 2, DECEMBER 2002
BREAST CANCER IN EUROPE
Jerzy E. Tyczynski, Freddie Bray, D. Maxwell Parkin
Worldwide, breast cancer is the most frequent can-
cer in women. The highest incidence rates are observed
in North America, whereas the lowest risk of breast cancer
is observed in Asia and Africa (Parkin et al., 2001).
Breast cancer is also the most common cancer in
females in Europe. It is estimated that in the year 2000
there were 350,000 new breast cancer cases in Europe,
while the number of deaths from breast cancer was esti-
mated at 130,000. Breast cancer is responsible for 26.5%
of all new cancer cases among women in Europe, and
17.5% of cancer deaths.
There are several aetiological factors that are associated
with occurrence of breast cancer, such as: age at men-
arche and menopause, childbearing, breastfeeding, hor-
monal status, consumption of alcohol and type of diet,
obesity, radiation, and genetic susceptibility. Mammo-
graphic screening can reduce mortality from breast cancer.
Regional Differences in Breast Cancer
There are substantial differences in breast cancer incidence
and mortality across Europe.
The regions of highest incidence are Western and Northern
Europe, while Southern and Eastern Europe have lower
incidence rates (Fig. 1, 2). The risk of getting breast cancer
in Western Europe is 60% greater than in Eastern Europe.
The highest mortality rates are also observed in Northern
and Western Europe.
The estimates for individual countries for the year 2000
show the highest incidence rates in the Netherlands
(91.6/105), Denmark (86.2/105), France (83.2/105), Bel-
gium (82.2/105), and Sweden (81.0/105). The lowest rates
in Europe are observed in Macedonia (38.7/105), Lithuania
(39.8/105), Belarus (39.8/105), Latvia (