The Top 5 African Countries with the Highest Incidence of Breast Cancer

  Country Breast Cancer Incidence
(per 100,000)
Breast Cancer Mortality
(per 100,000)
1 France (La Réunion) 43.1 11.8
2 Mauririus 42.6 14.9
3 South Africa 41.0 20.7
4 Nigeria 38.7 22.8
5 Egypt 37.3 20.1
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 Facts
  1. Breast cancer is by far the most frequent cancer among women with an estimated 1.38 million new cancer cases diagnosed in 2008 (23% of all cancers), and ranks second overall (10.9% of all cancers).
  2. Breast cancer is now the most common cancer both in developed and developing regions with around 690,000 new cases estimated in each region (population ratio 1:4). (a.)
  3. The range of mortality rates for breast cancer is much less (approximately 6-19 per 100,000) because of the more favourable survival of breast cancer in (high-incidence) developed regions. As a result, breast cancer ranks as the fifth cause of death from cancer overall (458 000 deaths), but it is still the most frequent cause of cancer death in women in both developing (269 000 deaths, 12.7% of total) and developed regions, where the estimated 189,000 deaths is almost equal to the estimated number of deaths from lung cancer (188,000 deaths). (a.)
  4. Cancer is an emerging public health problem in Africa. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), about 681,000 new cancer cases and 512,400 cancer deaths occurred in 2008 in Africa. These numbers are projected to nearly double (1.28 million new cancer cases and 970,000 cancer deaths) by 2030 simply due to the aging and growth of the population, with the potential to be even higher because of the adoption of behaviours associated with western lifestyles, such as smoking, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity. (b.)
  5. The five-year survival rate from breast cancer among women age 15 and older is 89% in the United States, 82% in Switzerland, and 80% in Spain. Breast cancer survival rates in developing countries are generally lower than in Europe and North America, with rates as low as 38.8% in Algeria, 36.6% in Brazil, and 12% in Gambia. The stage at diagnosis is the most important prognostic variable. For instance, the overall five-year relative survival among US women diagnosed with breast cancer at early stage is 98%, compared to 84% and 23% when the disease is spread to regional lymph nodes or distant organs, respectively. In the United States the National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 2.5 million women with a history of breast cancer were alive in January 2006. Most of these individuals were cancer-free, while others still had evidence of cancer and may have been undergoing treatment. (b.).
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. GLOBOCAN 2008. (2012). Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]./li>
  2. American Cancer Society. (2008). Global Cancer Facts & Figures, 2nd Edition.
Tags: Country Statistics, Top 5 Highest, Cancer statistics, Africa

Sources:  GLOBOCAN 2008, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet].

List Notes: List is female breast cancer incidence rate (age-standardized) per 100,000 population in Africa for the year 2008 or latest available data. An age-standardized rate is the rate that a population would have if it had a standard age structure. Standardization is necessary when comparing several populations that differ with respect to age because age has a powerful influence on the risk of cancer. (list last updated by top 5 of Anything: May 30th, 2012).
African Countries with the Highest Incidence of Breast Cancer

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