Objective: To provide an overview of the incidence and mortality of female breast cancer for countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Methods: Statistical information about breast cancer was obtained from publicly available cancer registry and mortality databases (such as GLOBOCAN), and supplemented with data requested from individual cancer registries. Rates were directly age-standardised to the Segi World Standard population and trends were analysed using joinpoint models.
Results: Breast cancer was the most common type of cancer among females in the region, accounting for 18% of all cases in 2012, and was the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths (9%). Although incidence rates remain much higher in New Zealand and Australia, rapid rises in recent years were observed in several Asian countries. Large increases in breast cancer mortality rates also occurred in many areas, particularly Malaysia and Thailand, in contrast to stabilising trends in Hong Kong and Singapore, while decreases have been recorded in Australia and New Zealand. Mortality trends tended to be more favourable for women aged under 50 compared to those who were 50 years or older.
Conclusion: It is anticipated that incidence rates of breast cancer in developing countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region will continue to increase. Early detection and access to optimal treatment are the keys to reducing breast cancer-related mortality, but cultural and economic obstacles persist. Consequently, the challenge is to customise breast cancer control initiatives to the particular needs of each country to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Keywords: Asia-Pacific region; epidemiology; female breast cancer; incidence; mortality.