Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Hispanic women; an estimated 17,100 Hispanic women are expected to be diagnosed in 2012. From 2000 to 2009, breast cancer incidence rates decreased from 97.2 (per 100,000 to 93.0 among Hispanic women and from 138.1 to 128.4 among non-Hispanic white women. Some of the factors that increase the risk of breast cancer (age, family history, later age at first full term pregnancy, early menarche and late menopause) are not modifiable. Other factors such as post-menopausal obesity, use post-menopausal hormones, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity are potentially modifiable.
An estimated 2,400 deaths from breast cancer are expected to occur among Hispanic women in 2012. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women. During the period from 2000 to 2009, breast cancer death rates decreased by 1.6% per year among Hispanic women and by 2.0% per year among non-Hispanic white women.
Breast cancer is less likely to be diagnosed at the earliest stage in Hispanic women compared to non-Hispanic white women. During 2005-2009, 56% of breast cancers among Hispanic women were diagnosed at a local stage, compared to 64% among non-Hispanic white women. Lower rates of mammography utilization and delayed follow up of abnormal screening results or self-discovered breast abnormalities among Hispanic women likely contribute to this difference. Hispanic women are also more likely to be diagnosed with tumors that are larger and are hormone receptor negative, both of which are more difficult to treat. However, even when age, stage, and tumor characteristics are similar, Hispanic women are more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic whites.