I appreciate Dr Giron's comments. Basically, this study was designed to observe the clinical characteristics of Korean patients with breast cancer, not to estimate the actual incidence rate of the disease. Since we cannot assume the characteristics of the reference population for comparison with the patients who were newly diagnosed in each hospital, we performed numerator analysis in this study. Therefore, because of the design of this study, we cannot draw any conclusions about the age incidence curve of breast cancer in Korea. Results from population-based incidence data,1,2 however, showed that the age distribution of the incidence rate for breast cancer in Korea peaks in women aged 45 to 49 years, which is very comparable to our findings. This may be due, in part, both to a cohort effect of high incidence in the younger generation and to relatively easier accessibility to screening programs to detect breast cancer among middle-aged women. We believe that the younger generations of Korean women have been directly affected by the progressive westernization of the Korean lifestyle. It has been speculated that the age incidence curve is expected to change in a manner similar to those of Western countries in the near future, since there are rapidly increasing trends in breast cancer incidence in Korea. Unfortunately, I cannot explain why family history of breast cancer in our survey increased in a short period, because we did not conduct a genetic evaluation.
Ahn SH. Clinical Characteristics of Breast Cancer Patients in Korea in 2000—Invited Response. Arch Surg. 2004;139(1):31. doi:10.1001/archsurg.139.1.31-a