Breast cancer facts for Asian-American women

Submitted by the Asian Breast Cancer Project


Cancer is the leading cause of death of Asian women in the United States, with breast cancer as the most common.

  • Cancer deaths are increasing faster among Asian Americans than any other U.S. ethnic or racial group.
  • U.S. Asian rates of invasive breast cancer have increased approximately 1.2 percent every year between 1988 and 2005, and have yet to decline.
  • Although breast mortality rates have declined among every other U.S. racial groups, they have increased among Asian women.
Image courtesy of Flickr user TipsTimes.

Image courtesy of Flickr user TipsTimes.

  • Among Asian women, compared to others, breast cancer has been found to show a relatively younger median age at diagnosis and early tumor onset.
  • Breast cancer rates among U.S. Asian women are 60 percent higher than those found in the same women’s home countries.
  • Immigrant Asian women who have been living in the United States for 10 years have an 80 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than their newly arrived A&PI immigrant counterparts.
  • Despite the misconception that Asian women don’t get breast cancer, the incident rate of breast cancer among South Asian women living in the United States — along with third and fourth generation Japanese and Chinese American women — reaches that of U.S. white women.
  • Asian American women have very low rates of breast cancer screening which increases their chances of later stage disease presentation. Multiple studies consistently show that Asian women older than 40 obtain regular mammograms at the lowest rate of any U.S racial/ethnic group—rates are even lower for low income and recent immigrant women.

To find out more information, or to get a referral to a health center that provides breast health services and breast cancer screening, please call (617) 870-4056 or email or go to

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