Breast and cervical cancer in 187 countries between 1980 and 2010: a systematic analysis

Lancet. 2011 Oct 22;378(9801):1461-84. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61351-2. Epub 2011 Sep 14.


Background: Breast and cervical cancer are important causes of mortality in women aged ≥15 years. We undertook annual age-specific assessments of breast and cervical cancer in 187 countries.

Methods: We systematically collected cancer registry data on mortality and incidence, vital registration, and verbal autopsy data for the period 1980-2010. We modelled the mortality-to-incidence (MI) ratio using a hierarchical model. Vital registration and verbal autopsy were supplemented with incidence multiplied by the MI ratio to yield a comprehensive database of mortality rates. We used Gaussian process regression to develop estimates of mortality with uncertainty by age, sex, country, and year. We used out-of-sample predictive validity to select the final model. Estimates of incidence with uncertainty were also generated with mortality and MI ratios.

Findings: Global breast cancer incidence increased from 641,000 (95% uncertainty intervals 610,000-750,000) cases in 1980 to 1,643,000 (1,421,000-1,782,000) cases in 2010, an annual rate of increase of 3·1%. Global cervical cancer incidence increased from 378,000 (256,000-489,000) cases per year in 1980 to 454,000 (318,000-620,000) cases per year in 2010-a 0·6% annual rate of increase. Breast cancer killed 425,000 (359,000-453,000) women in 2010, of whom 68,000 (62,000-74,000) were aged 15-49 years in developing countries. Cervical cancer death rates have been decreasing but the disease still killed 200,000 (139,000-276,000) women in 2010, of whom 46,000 (33,000-64,000) were aged 15-49 years in developing countries. We recorded pronounced variation in the trend in breast cancer mortality across regions and countries.

Interpretation: More policy attention is needed to strengthen established health-system responses to reduce breast and cervical cancer, especially in developing countries.

Funding: Susan G Komen for the Cure and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Developed Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / mortality
  • Young Adult