Changing patterns in the clinical characteristics of korean breast cancer from 1996-2010 using an online nationwide breast cancer database.
Breast cancer is one of the most frequent malignancies in Korean women, and its incidence is increasing at a rapid rate. Since 1996, the Korean Breast Cancer Society has collected nationwide breast cancer data using an online registration program and analyzed the data biennial. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of Korean breast cancer and to analyze changes in these characteristics over the period of time. Data were collected from 41 medical schools (74 hospitals), 24 general hospitals, and 6 private clinics. Data on the total number, gender, and age of newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients were collected through a questionnaire. Additional data were collected and analyzed from the online database. In 2010, 16,398 patients in Korea were newly diagnosed with breast cancer. The crude incidence rate of female breast cancer was 67.2 cases per 100,000, and the median age at diagnosis was 49 years. The incidence of breast cancer was highest in patients aged between 40 and 49 years. Since 1996, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of early-stage cancers (detected in stage 1 or 2), the percentage of estrogen receptor-positive cancers, and in the proportion of patients receiving breast-conserving surgery. The incidence and clinical characteristics of Korean breast cancer are slowly changing to the patterns of Western countries. To understand changing patterns in the characteristics of Korean breast cancer, the nationwide data should be continuously analyzed.