Kazakh breast cancer mortality rate declines, yet problem remains tangible

ASTANA – Kazakh oncologists discussed breast cancer mortality rates and why the country’s screening threshold was reduced to age 40 during an Aug. 15 press conference.

Photo credit: thewholejourney.com.

The mortality rate reduced 9.7 percent from 2011-2017, said Dilyara Kaidarova, the Ministry of Healthcare chief oncologist and director of the Kazakh Research Institute on Oncology and Radiology. Figures declined from 1,377 cases (8.3 percent per 100,000) in 2011 to 1,243 cases (6.9 percent per 100,000) in 2017, reported Kazinform.

In the same time period, mammogram screenings improved the timely diagnosis of breast cancer by 11.3 percent. Early (I-II) stage diagnosis increased from 73.4 percent (2,568 cases) in 2011 to 84.7 percent (3,677) six years later.

Despite the improvements, breast cancer remains the most frequent type with the highest morbidity rate. Records show the disease resulted in 13.8 percent of oncologic deaths last year (14.5 percent in 2016), with an incidence of 24.5 percent per 100,000 in 2017 (26.1 percent in 2016).

Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises women to be screened after age 50, the Kazakh screening threshold was reduced to 40 in an effort to further decrease the mortality rate.

“Breast cancer in Kazakh women is very aggressive. The disease is getting younger; we diagnose these diseases even in young women aged 35-40… and among those who still breastfeed their babies. In other words, we identify it [the disease] along with factors that, on the contrary, should serve to prevent breast cancer,” said Kaidarova as quoted by TengriNews.

Dilyara Kaidarova, the chief oncologist at the Ministry of Health. Photo credit: tengrinews.kz.

Oncologists warn that even in the absence of complaints, screenings should be done at least once every two years.

“We encourage women to undergo screenings in a timely manner, at least one day a year. Usually when they are sick, our women do not come to the study because there is no time,” she added.

Breast cancer morbidity is more frequent in the Almaty, Karaganda, Kostanai, Kyzylorda, Pavlodar and South Kazakhstan regions, as well as the capital and Almaty, where the rate is approximately 30 percent.

Lower rates were recorded in Mangistau (14.2 percent), South Kazakhstan (14.7 percent), Kyzylorda (15.4 percent) and Atyrau (15.6 percent) regions.

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