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Comment & Response
November 2018

Concern Regarding Age Distribution of Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Surveillance Research Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 2Department of Biostatistics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
JAMA Surg. 2018;153(11):1060-1061. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.2087

To the Editor The research letter by Stapleton et al1 presented the age distribution of individuals with breast cancer by race and ethnicity for women between the ages of 40 and 75 years using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program database. The letter concluded that the higher proportion of individuals with breast cancer at younger ages in minority populations suggests a need for earlier screening for minority women. However, the results presented did not account for the different age distributions of the populations considered. As a result, the authors used the wrong denominator to assess risk. Instead of considering the proportion of women in a particular age group and race/ethnicity diagnosed with breast cancer, they considered the proportion of all breast cancers within that race/ethnicity that occurred in a particular age group.

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