BUFFALO, NY (WGRZ) -- For the past several months, we've been telling you about the latest research and innovations in breast cancer diagnostics and treatment. And that's left many people wondering whether there is a high incidence of breast cancer in Western New York?
The simple answer is, yes. There is a high incidence of breast cancer in Western New York, but it's not any higher than most counties across the state.
Doctors and hospitals are required to report every cancer diagnosis to the New York State Cancer Registry. And that data shows the exact number of breast cancer cases each year.
To view breast cancer rates in New York State by county, click here.
"There are slight variations between the counties, but in fact, those variations are much less important than the fact that breast cancer is a very common disease in all of westernized society, including New York State," said Stephen Edge, MD of Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
"The rate in Erie County is about 120 per 100-thousand women per year. Or, 1 in 800 women will develop breast cancer every year. Now that includes young women and old women," added Dr. Edge.
It's important to note that breast cancer rates go up with age. The rates are substantially higher for women in their 50s, 60s and 70s. It's probably on the order of 1 in 400 women per year will get breast cancer. Whereas, for women in their 20s... 30s... or 40, it's probably one in 12-hundred or 1 in 14-hundred or 15-hundred will get breast cancer every year.
The other really important news is that the death rate from breast cancer has dropped by 35 percent in the last two decades. Dr. Edge says that's proof positive that screening works.
Breast cancer is treatable and curable when it's caught early enough.
Therefore, every woman over age 40 must get screened annually with mammography.