DPH: Breast Cancer in Connecticut
Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer in Connecticut

(Data source: Connecticut Tumor Registry)

On this page you will find information about how breast cancer affects women in Connecticut. Statistics are shown for the following topics:

New Cases

Cancer Deaths


Risk Factors

Stage of Disease at Diagnosis



New Cases

  • Breast cancer is diagnosed in women more often than any other cancer.
  • There were 2706 new cases of malignant breast cancer diagnosed in women in Connecticut in 2004.
  • Connecticut had the 3rd highest rate of new breast cancers in the United States in 2000-2004.
{Incidence of Cancer in Connecticut Women, 2004}

Cancer Deaths

  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Connecticut women.
  • 552 Connecticut women died from breast cancer in 2004.
  • Connecticut had the 26th highest rate of death from breast cancer in the United States in 2000-2004.
{Cancer Deaths, Connecticut Women, 2004}


New cases

  • Rates of new breast cancers have tended to increase over the last 30 years.
  • The recent rate decrease seen in Connecticut has been also observed in other states and is being monitored by scientists.
{Trends in New Breast Cancer Cases in Connecticut}


  • Breast cancer death rates have decreased steadily over the last 30 years, due in part to early detection by breast cancer screening.
{Trends in Breast Cancer Deaths in Connecticut}


Risk Factors


  • The chance of getting breast cancer increases with age.
  • More than 3 out of every 4 breast cancers diagnosed in 2004 were in women 50 years of age or older.

{Connecticut Breast Cancer Incidence by Age, 2004}

Race and ethnicity

  • Breast cancer rates vary among women from different racial and ethnic groups:
    • White, non-Hispanic women are the most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
{Connecticut Breast Cancer Cases by Race and Ethnicity, 2000-2004}
    • Black, non-Hispanic women are the most likely to die from breast cancer.

{Connecticut Breast Cancer Deaths by Race and Ethnicity, 2000-2004}


Stage of Disease at Diagnosis

  • In Connecticut, almost 2 out of 3 breast cancers diagnosed in 1999-2003 were found at an early (localized) stage.
  • Regular mammograms can lead to earlier detection of breast cancer, when it is easier to treat.
{Connecticut Breast Cancer Stage at Diagnosis, 1999-2003}



  • Breast cancer survival rates depend on many factors, including stage of disease at diagnosis.
  • The 5-year relative survival rate ('relative' means adjusted for mortality in the general population) for women diagnosed with breast cancer in Connecticut is almost 90%.
  • The relative survival rate is much higher when the cancer is diagnosed at an early (localized) stage of disease, than when it is diagnosed at a late stage.
{Connecticut Breast Cancer 5-Year Relative Survival Rate, 1999-2003}


1. Malignant (invasive) cancers are those that have spread (or 'invaded') into cells beyond  the layer of tissue in which they first developed. When a cancer spreads to a different part of the body, it is called metastatic cancer. In situ cancers are early cancers that have not invaded through the immediate layer of tissue. A benign tumor is histologically (microscopically) non-cancerous and does not spread to other parts of the body.


Tumor registries collect information on all malignant and in situ cancers (excluding basal and squamous cell skin cancers and in situ cancers of the cervix) and benign tumors of the brain and central nervous system.


2. Cancer data for the United States are collected through two federally funded programs: the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute and the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The SEER program was established in 1973 to provide an authoritative source of information on cancer incidence and survival in the United States and currently covers approximately 26% of the United States population. The NPCR was set up in 1992 to extend cancer data coverage to the remainder of the United States population, and to assist non-SEER registries in gathering complete and high quality data. For the period 2000-2004, 39 registries achieved sufficiently high data quality for inclusion in national cancer incidence figures. See http://www.cancer-rates.info/naaccr for further details.


Connecticut Tumor Registry is one of the original SEER registries and is the oldest tumor registry in the United States.


3. Rates of new cancer cases or deaths are the numbers of cases or deaths in a given number of women (usually 100,000) in a year. Because the risk of cancer increases with age, rates are usually age-adjusted, which allows rates in different groups of people to be compared even when one group has a higher proportion of older people. Except for rates in different age groups, the rates presented here have been age-adjusted.


4. To monitor cancer rates in different racial and ethnic groups, cancer registries collect information on race and Hispanic ethnicity. Although ethnicity data are required to be reported, they are not always provided. Cancer registries supplement their ethnicity data using a nationally accepted method based on an individual's names. However, there is potential for some misclassification using this method, particularly in women due to the frequent absence of maiden names in cancer registry databases.


The 'Other' race category includes women of American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian and Pacific Island backgrounds.


5. The stage of a cancer is a measure of how far the cancer has spread at the time of diagnosis. Stage is usually based on the size of the tumor, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) from the original site to other parts of the body. Localized (early stage) cancer is limited to the organ in which it began, without evidence of spread. Regional cancer has spread beyond the original (primary) site to nearby lymph nodes or organs and tissues. Distant (late stage) cancer has spread from the primary site to distant organs or distant lymph nodes. Unstaged cancers are those for which there is not enough information to indicate a stage.


6. The survival rate is a measure of how long people live after diagnosis with cancer. The relative survival rate is defined as the ratio of a cancer patient's chance of surviving a given time interval to that of a person of the same age and sex in the general US population (i.e., the rate has been adjusted for mortality in the general population).


Related Pages:

   Breast Cancer (home page) 

   Breast Cancer Facts

   Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

   New England Cancer Genetics Counselors

   Connecticut Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

   Connecticut Tumor Registry

Content Last Modified on 10/22/2007 2:44:09 PM