Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 1777–1785 | Cite as

Recent trends and patterns in breast cancer incidence among Eastern and Southeastern Asian women

  • Hai-Rim ShinEmail author
  • Clementine Joubert
  • Mathieu Boniol
  • Clarisse Hery
  • Sei Hyun Ahn
  • Young-Joo Won
  • Yoshikazu Nishino
  • Tomotaka Sobue
  • Chien-Jen Chen
  • San-Lin You
  • Maria Rica Mirasol-Lumague
  • Stephen Chun-Key Law
  • Oscar Mang
  • Yong-Bing Xiang
  • Kee-Seng Chia
  • Suthee Rattanamongkolgul
  • Jian-Guo Chen
  • Maria Paula Curado
  • Philippe Autier
Original paper



Incidence of breast cancer is rising in Asian countries, and breast cancer is the most common cancer among Asian women. However, there are few recent descriptive reports on the epidemiology of breast cancer among Eastern and Southeastern Asian populations.


We examined incidence trends for invasive breast cancer in women aged ≥20 years from 15 registries in Eastern (China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan) and Southeastern Asia (the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand) for the period 1993–2002 mainly using data from Cancer Incidence in Five Continents, Volumes VIII and IX. We compared trends in annual incidence rates and age-specific incidence curves over a 10-year period. We also compared the incidence rates of Asian-Americans with the rates of their Asian counterparts.


Breast cancer incidence rates increased gradually over time in all study populations. Rates were relatively high in Southeastern Asia and became progressively lower along a south-to-north gradient, with a fourfold geographic variation within the study populations. Age-specific incidence curves showed patterns that gradually changed according to incidence rates. Breast cancer incidence among Asian women living in the United States was 1.5–4 times higher than the corresponding incidence rate in the women’s respective countries of origin.


Breast cancer incidence is expected to continue to increase for the next 10 years in Asia and may approach rates reported among Asian-Americans. The number and mean age of breast cancer cases is expected to increase as the female Asian population ages, the prevalence of certain risk factors changes (early menarche, late menopause, low parity, late age at first live birth, and low prevalence of breastfeeding), and as Asian countries introduce mass screening programs.


Breast cancer Epidemiology Incidence Asian women 



We gratefully acknowledge the cancer registries that contributed data to Cancer Incidence in Five Continents, volumes VIII and IX, and those that permitted us to use their data. We thank Mr. Mathieu Mazuir for data extraction and Mr. John Daniel for manuscript editing.

Competing interests

None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hai-Rim Shin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Clementine Joubert
    • 1
  • Mathieu Boniol
    • 1
    • 13
  • Clarisse Hery
    • 1
  • Sei Hyun Ahn
    • 3
  • Young-Joo Won
    • 2
  • Yoshikazu Nishino
    • 4
  • Tomotaka Sobue
    • 5
  • Chien-Jen Chen
    • 6
  • San-Lin You
    • 6
  • Maria Rica Mirasol-Lumague
    • 7
  • Stephen Chun-Key Law
    • 8
  • Oscar Mang
    • 8
  • Yong-Bing Xiang
    • 9
  • Kee-Seng Chia
    • 10
  • Suthee Rattanamongkolgul
    • 11
  • Jian-Guo Chen
    • 12
  • Maria Paula Curado
    • 1
  • Philippe Autier
    • 1
    • 13
  1. 1.International Agency for Research on CancerLyon cedex 08France
  2. 2.Korea Central Cancer RegistryNational Cancer CenterGoyangRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Korea Breast Cancer RegistrySeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Miyagi Cancer RegistryMiyagiJapan
  5. 5.National Cancer CenterTokyoJapan
  6. 6.Taiwan Cancer Registry and Genomics Research CenterTaipeiTaiwan
  7. 7.DOH Rizal Cancer RegistryPasigPhilippines
  8. 8.Hong Kong Cancer RegistryHong KongPeople’s Republic of China
  9. 9.Department of EpidemiologyShanghai Cancer InstituteShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  10. 10.Centre for Molecular Epidemiology and Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  11. 11.Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of MedicineSrinakharinwirot UniversityBangkokThailand
  12. 12.Qidong Cancer RegistryQidongPeople’s Republic of China
  13. 13.International Prevention Research InstituteLyonFrance

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