Epidemiological Pattern of Breast Cancer in Iranian Women: Is there an Ethnic Disparity?

  • Taheri, Neger Sadat (Golestan Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Golestan University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Nosrat, Sepideh Bakhshandeh (Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Golestan University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Aarabi, Mohsen (Golestan Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Golestan University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Tabiei, Mohammad Naeimi (Department of Health, Golestan University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Kashani, Elham (Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Golestan University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Rajaei, Siamak (Department of Surgery, Golestan University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Besharat, Sima (Golestan Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Golestan University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Semnani, Shahryar (Golestan Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Golestan University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Roshandel, Gholamreza (Golestan Research Center of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Golestan University of Medical Sciences)
  • Published : 2012.09.30


Introduction: Northeastern Iran is known as a high risk area of upper gastrointestinal cancers. Recent reports have suggested a declining trend for these cancers as well as an increase in the incidence of other malignancies including breast cancer. Our present aim was to describe the epidemiological pattern of breast cancer in this region during 2004-2009. Methods: All new cancer cases from public and private diagnostic and therapeutic centers of Golestan province were registered. A structured questionnaire was prepared and used based on the standerds of the International Association of Cancer Registries. The international classification of diseases for oncology was considered for coding. Age standardized incidence rates (ASR) of breast cancer were calculated. Results: A total of 11,038 new cancer cases were registered during 2004-2009, of which, 1,101 (10%) were females with breast cancer. The median age of the breast cancer patients was 46 years. The ASR for breast cancer was 28 per 100,000 person-years. We found an unusual rapid increase in breast cancer rate at the age of 25 years. The ASR of breast cancer was significantly lower in females from Turkmen ethnicity and those from rural areas(P value <0.01). Conclusion: Our study showed high rate of breast cancer in Golestan province of Iran. We found an unusual peak of breast cancer in young women. So, the age of starting screening programs may need to be revised in this area. The rate of breast cancer was significantly lower in women from Turkmen ethnicity. Further studies are warranted to clarify the role of important determinants, especially regarding the ethnic disparity, on breast cancer in this region.


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