Just over half of Indiana County’s 89,000 citizens are female. That would put our number at about 45,000. Using that figure, a new report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council says about 80 of those women had breast cancer surgery in 2011.
The report on surgical treatment for breast cancer studied trends from 2002 to 2011. It shows that Pennsylvania has an estimated 140,000 women living with breast cancer. 13,000 women were diagnosed with it last year, and there were 2,090 deaths from breast cancer in 2011. 58 percent of the surgeries were for women over age 60 and 39 percent for women ages 40 to 59.
The report studied the three surgical categories for breast cancer: a lumpectomy, a mastectomy, and both a lumpectomy and mastectomy.
It shows a rate of 17.6 breast cancer surgeries for every 10,000 female residents in Indiana County. Among our neighbors, there were 21.7 surgeries for every 10,000 females in Westmoreland County, 21.0 for Clearfield County, 19.5 in Cambria County, 16.7 in Armstrong County, and 15.4 in Jefferson County. The most surgeries for breast cancer in the state were in Union and Delaware counties, at 28.9 per 10,000 women. Union County is next to Centre County, which had the second-highest rate of surgeries, 27.5. Clinton County, which also borders Centre County, had the lowest rate, 5.4.
The report does not cover other non-surgical treatments of breast cancer. It does note that an increasing number of Pennsylvania women are opting for preventive breast cancer surgery, including the removal of healthy breasts in women who are considered at risk.