Breast Cancer in Minnesota
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Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in Minnesota women
Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer diagnosed in women across every racial and ethnic group in Minnesota. Breast cancer is a complex group of diseases. Most commonly, breast cancers begin in ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) or lobules (glands that make milk). Breast cancer can occur in men but it is rare, accounting for only 0.2% of cancer in men. By contrast, breast cancer accounts for over 30% of cancers diagnosed. There are about 4,500 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed among women each year in Minnesota. In 2019, 650 Minnesota women died from breast cancer.
Risk Factors for breast cancer
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Age is one of the strongest risk factors for breast cancer. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age
Certain genetic alterations and a family history of breast cancer can increase the risk of breast cancer. Inherited genetic changes (mutations) to certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer.
Lifetime exposure to estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer. A woman’s lifetime estrogen level is largely determined by her reproductive and menstrual history, and longterm use of menopausal hormone replacement therapy.
Certain exposures including chest radiation therapy for a previous cancer and the use of diethylsilbesterol (DES) during pregnancy increase risk.
Individual factors that increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer include a personal history of breast cancer and breast density.
Modifiable lifestyle factors that increase risk include increased body weight, lack of physical activity, and alcohol consumption.
Reproductive factors such as menstrual periods starting before age 12 and menopause starting after age 55 increase the risk of breast cancer due to longer exposure to hormones. Women who never have a full-term pregnancy, have a first pregnancy after age 30, or do not breast feed are also at increased risk for breast cancer.
For more information on breast cancer risk factors and how to lower your risk go to the links below:
The goal of screening for breast cancer is to detect the disease before symptoms develop and treat it early, when cancers respond better to treatment. Screening guideline recommendations depend on age, family history and individual risk.
- Women should talk with their health care providers about breast cancer screening tests and when to have them.
- Women who do not have health insurance, or have insurance that does not fully cover breast cancer screening costs, may be eligible to receive free screening in Minnesota through MDH’s Sage Program.
- Women screened through the Sage program who need follow-up treatment may qualify for Medical Assistance for Breast or Cervical Cancer (MA-BC). This program covers treatment and other MA-covered service costs until treatment ends.
- Be sure to discuss screening recommendations with a health care provider.
For more information on breast cancer screening guidelines go to the links below:
Screening Data in Minnesota
Five-year survival rates for breast cancer
Survival is much higher when diagnosed early.
Rates over time
Click on each dropdown to learn more about trends
Trends in breast cancer incidence differ depending on if the cancer is diagnosed in women younger than 50 years of age (pre-menopausal breast cancer) or in women 50 years of age and older (post-menopausal breast cancer).
---The rate of pre-menopausal breast cancer has been relatively stable over time since 1988 and shows a 1% annual increase since 2003.
---The rate of post-menopausal breast cancer has fluctuated considerably. From 2000 to 2004 the rate decreased significantly by 4.8% per year. A similar decrease was seen nationally. Since 2004, the rate has increased slightly, less than 1% per year.
In 2019, the age-adjusted incidence rate of breast cancer was 48.7 new cases per 100,000 females less than 50 years old, 358.8 new cases per 100,000 females aged 50 years and older, and 134.4 new cases per 100,000 females of all ages combined.
Since 1988 mortality from breast cancer has declined an average of 2.3 percent per year in Minnesota for women of all ages. ---For women 50 years and older the decrease since 1988 has been 2.1% per year. ---For women less than 50 years old, the mortality rate has been decreasing about 4% per year until 2012 where the rates are showing evidence of leveling off. In 2019, the age-adjusted mortality rate of breast cancer was 2.9 per 100,000 females less than 50 years old, 54.4 deaths per 100,000 females aged 50 years and older, and 17.2 deaths per 100,000 females of all ages combined.
Since 1988 deaths (mortality) from breast cancer has declined an average of 2.3 percent per year in Minnesota for women of all ages.
Click/Hover each line to learn more about trends for individual years
Rates and Counts by County/Region (2015-2019)
Click on each to learn more about breast cancer by county and region
Rates of breast cancer incidence differ by Minnesota county. Click/Hover on county for more information.
Rates by State Community Health Services Advisory Committee (SCHSAC) Region. Click/Hover on region for more information.
Prevalence of breast cancer by Minnesota county. Number of women estimated to be living in Minnesota and having a history of breast cancer diagnosis, as of Jan 1, 2018. Click/Hover on county for more information.
* Unstable rate based on relative standard error > 30% and small counts. Rates should be interpreted with caution. Counts < 10 with a five-year population < 5,000 are suppressed to protect confidentiality. Rates are average annual (2015-2019). Counts are five-year totals. Rates/100,000 are adjusted to the 2000 census.
Rates by Race/Ethnicity (2015-2019)
Click on each to learn more about breast cancer by race and ethnicity
Rates of breast cancer incidence by the stage at diagnosis differ by race/ethnicity. Ideally cancers should be detected early. For breast cancers diagnosed at late stage, American Indian Minnesota women have the highest rates.
Rates of breast cancer incidence differ by race/ethnicity. Black Minnesota women have the highest death rate for breast cancer.
The collection of Minnesota Cancer data was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number, NU58DP007128 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The contents of this work are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.
Please contact MCRS at health.MCRS@state.mn.us with data requests or questions.