Background: Cancer registries have been set up worldwide to provide information for cancer health planning. There are known variations in breast cancer incidence and mortality worldwide. However, breast cancer incidence, pathological characteristics, and survival data is still under-reported in Asian countries. This is the first comprehensive population-based breast cancer study performed using population database of the Hong Kong Cancer Registry.
Methods: A retrospective review of medical records of 8,961 subjects who were diagnosed with breast cancer between January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2001 and followed up to December 31, 2007. Descriptive statistics were employed to analyze the epidemiological and clinical data. Estimates of overall, disease-free, and cancer-specific survival at 5 years were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and stage-specific relative survival rates were calculated.
Results: A total of 7,630 breast cancer patients' medical records and dataset were available during this period, and 7,449 subjects were eligible for the final analysis. Median follow-up was 84 months. A total of 47.4% were diagnosed with breast cancer at age 49 years and younger; 22.2%, 46.9%, 10.8%, and 4.1% presented at stages I, II, III, and IV, respectively. A total of 53.5% had ER-positive cancer, and 20.3% had HER2-positive cancers; 13.4% had triple-negative cancers. The relative, cancer-specific, and disease-free survival rates at 5 years were 84%, 85.2%, and 81.2%, respectively.
Discussion: We performed the first comprehensive population-based breast cancer epidemiology study in Southern China using the Hong Kong Cancer Registry database. This provides a baseline study cohort for comparative studies with other Asian countries and Chinese who have migrated to the West.