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Trends of female and male breast cancer incidence at the global, regional, and national levels, 1990–2017



Breast cancer is a major public health concern worldwide and shows significant heterogeneity between male and female. Knowing the global incidence landscape in both sexes is critical for the breast cancer prevention and the reduction in disease burden.


We retrieved the incidence data of breast cancer in both sexes from the Global Burden of Disease 2017 database. Average annual percentage change was used to quantify the temporal trends of breast cancer incidence.


Between 1990 and 2017, the number of newly diagnosed female breast cancer (FBC) cases increased from 870.2 thousand to 1937.6 thousand, with the age-standardized incidence rate (ASR) significantly increased from 39.2/100,000 to 45.9/100,000. A total of 166 countries experienced a significant increase in FBC-ASR. The most pronounced increase was mainly found in developing countries. The decrease was mostly detected in several developed countries, such as the USA and the UK. Male breast cancer (MBC) is a rare carcinoma and has no evident cluster across the world. Worldwide, the number of newly diagnosed MBC cases increased from 8.5 thousand in 1990 to 23.1 thousand in 2017, with the ASR significantly increased from 0.46/100,000 to 0.61/100,000. A total of 123 countries showed a significant increasing trend in MBC-ASR.


Breast cancer incidence rates are increasing in most countries in both sexes, although the epidemiological features were not completely shared between FBC and MBC. More emphases should be placed on breast cancer primary prevention and the prevention strategies might need to be tailored for both FBC and MBC.

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Global burden of disease


Average annual percentage change


Female breast cancer


Male breast cancer


Age-standardized incidence rate


Socio-demographical index


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Correspondence to Xinbao Hao or Pingming Fan.

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Zhilin Chen, Lu Xu, Wenjie Shi, Fanyu Zeng, Rui Zhuo, Xinbao Hao, Pingming Fan declared that they have no conflict of interest.

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Chen, Z., Xu, L., Shi, W. et al. Trends of female and male breast cancer incidence at the global, regional, and national levels, 1990–2017. Breast Cancer Res Treat (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10549-020-05561-1

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  • Female breast cancer
  • Male breast cancer
  • Incidence
  • Global burden of disease