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Female Breast Cancer

General Statistics

Leading Cause of Death

  • In Illinois, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer death in women
  • In Illinois, breast cancer incidence rates are highest in Black and White women and lowest in Hispanic women, and mortality rates are highest in Black women and lowest in Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander women

New Diagnoses (Incidence)

  • In the United States, the incidence of breast cancer has increased from 124.8 per 100,000 in 2008 to 125.1 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In Illinois, the incidence of breast cancer has increased from 127.1 per 100,000 in 2008 to 132.0 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In 2017, there were a total of 250,520 new breast cancer cases in the United States and a total of 10,332 new breast cancer cases in Illinois

Deaths (Mortality)

  • In the United States, mortality of breast cancer has decreased from 22.6 per 100,000 in 2008 to 19.9 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In Illinois, mortality from breast cancer has decreased from 23.8 per 100,000 in 2008 to 20.4 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In 2017, there were a total of 42,000 deaths from breast cancer in the United States and a total of 1,708 deaths from breast cancer in Illinois

Risk Factors

The primary risk factors for breast cancer include being a woman and older age. Women at higher risk for breast cancer include those with a family history of breast cancer or those with inherited changes (mutations) in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Other risk factors include:

  • Starting period before age 12
  • Starting menopause after age 55
  • Having dense breasts
  • Having already had breast cancer or certain breast conditions such as atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)
  • Having a family history of ovarian cancer
  • Having received radiation treatments to the chest before age 30
  • Pregnant women who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) between 1940 and 1971, or women whose mothers took DES while pregnant with them
  • Not physically active and being overweight or obese
  • Taking hormone therapy medications that include estrogen and progesterone for more than five years during menopause
  • Taking certain birth control pills
  • Giving birth to first child after age 30 or having never been pregnant
  • Drinking alcohol

Prevention and Early Detection

Screening for breast cancer is recommended for women ages 40 to 74 years. Two screening tests are available:

  • A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast
  • A breast MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast; it is used along with mammograms to screen women at high risk

Other exams include:

  • A clinical breast exam is when a doctor uses their hand to feel for lumps or changes
  • A breast self-exam to become familiar with how your breasts look and feel; if there are any new changes or unusual signs, speak with a health care provider

Risk reduction methods for women at high risk of breast cancer include:

  • Preventive medications (chemoprevention)
  • Preventive surgery to remove healthy breasts

Lifestyle factors that can lower a person’s risk for breast cancer include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight and diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Not drinking alcohol or limiting the number of drinks consumed
  • Breastfeeding, if possible
  • Having a discussion with a physician about the benefits and risks of taking hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills

Female Breast Cancer Measures for Illinois

Cancer Measure Baseline (per 100,000) (2017) Target (per 100,000) (2025)

Incidence rate

132.0 127.8

Mortality rate

20.4 17.8

Female Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Race and Ethnicity in Illinois (2017)

Race/Ethnicity Incidence (per 100,000) Mortality (per 100,000)

All Races (includes Hispanic)

132.0 20.4

White (includes Hispanic)

132.8 19.6

Black (includes Hispanic)

133.9 29.0

Hispanic (any race)

96.3 9.5
Race/Ethnicity Incidence (per 100,000) Mortality (per 100,000)

Non-Hispanic White

137.0 20.5

Non-Hispanic Black

135.9 29.6

Asian/Other Races

105.4 Data not available

Other Races

Data not available 9.2
Race/Ethnicity Incidence (per 100,000) Mortality (per 100,000)

Hispanic

98.0 9.5

Asian/Pacific Islander

111.6 10.0

American Indian/Alaskan Native

Data not available Data not available

Female Breast Cancer – 20 Counties with Highest Incidence in Illinois (2013-2017)

Overall State Incidence

133.1

County Incidence (per 100,000)

Warren

173.1

Scott

169.5

Ford

167.6

Greene

167.0

Mercer

162.3

Grundy

158.3

White

153.6

Shelby

152.1

Tazewell

151.7

Union

151.5

Carroll

149.7

Morgan

149.2

Sangamon

148.9

Livingston

148.7

Bond

148.0

Henderson

144.5

Marion

144.4

McLean

144.2

Perry

143.4

Lake

142.8