A study was made of the clinical stage at presentation in 10 081 cases of carcinoma of the breast registered with the East Anglian Cancer Registration Bureau between 1960 and 1975. Information about the length of clinical history was obtained in 8862 cases. There has been a gradual increase in the population-adjusted incidence of breast carcinoma in the region during the period studied. Since 1968, there has been a consistent increase in Stage I and II registrations, but a fall in Stage III registrations. Stage IV registrations have remained constant. A greater proportion of women with Stage I or II lesions present with a short clinical history, and this pattern has not changed during the course of the study. We suggest that increased interest in, and opportunities for, the early diagnosis of breast disease are leading to a change in the pattern of presentation.
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