• breast cancer;
  • incidence;
  • race/ethnicity;
  • trends


Racial/ethnic disparities in breast cancer incidence may contain important evidence for understanding and control of the disease. Monitoring the incidence trends of breast cancer by race/ethnicity allows identification of high risk groups and development of targeted prevention programs. Using population-based cancer registry data from the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program, we examined the invasive female breast cancer incidence trends among the diverse racial/ethnic populations in Los Angeles County, California, from 1972 to 2007. Age-adjusted incidence rates (AAIRs) and age-specific incidence rates (ASIRs) were calculated and examined respectively for non-Hispanic (NH) white, black, Hispanic, Chinese, Filipina, Japanese and Korean women by calendar year and time period. Rising trends of AAIRs were found in all racial/ethnic groups during the 1980s and 1990s. The breast cancer risk increased more substantially in Japanese and Filipinas than in Chinese and Koreans. During 2000–2007, the trends of AAIRs declined significantly among NH white women and slightly in blacks, remained unchanged for Hispanics and continued to rise significantly among all Asian subgroups. The patterns of ASIRs by race/ethnicity changed dramatically over time. By 2000–2007, younger Hispanic women had the lowest breast cancer risk, replacing the Chinese and Koreans who formerly had the lowest risk. Rapidly increasing breast cancer incidence trends among Asian–Americans underline the importance of behavioral and lifestyle changes as a result of acculturation on the development of the disease. The unique trends of breast cancer incidence by race/ethnicity suggest the need for targeted breast cancer control programs for different racial/ethnic populations.