27+ Statistics and Facts About Breast Cancer (2020)

Last modified: October 11, 2020

We covered the essential Breast Cancer Statistics, from awareness facts to the survival rates, deaths per year, and how the US compares to the rest of the World.

For years, cancer has held the second position on the list outlining the world’s leading causes of death. Despite millions of dollars being poured into research, it seems like very few advancements in preventing and treating the disease have been made in the last couple of years.

In this article, we will outline several breast cancer statistics and facts, in order to raise awareness about the disease. As such, some of the main topics that will be covered include — but are not limited to — the prevalence of breast cancer in women and men, treatment plans, survival rates, number of deaths per year, the demographics of breast cancer, and more.

To kick things off, we will mention several elementary breast cancer facts. For one, it represents a type of cancer that develops in the breast area and is composed of breast tissue. Generally, the main warning signs for breast cancer include lumps in the breast area, changes in the shape of the breasts, fluid originating from the nipple, inverted nipples, and patches of skin with an unnatural texture. The main risk factors that can lead to the appearance of breast cancer are: being female, suffering from obesity, engaging in hormone replacement therapy, old age, ionizing radiation, alcohol consumption, family history, lack of physical exercise, and more.

Breast Cancer Statistics 2020 (Editor’s Pick)

  • 508,000 women have died as a result of breast cancer in 2018, according to a World Health Organization report.
  • Breast cancer is most often diagnosed in Western Europe and the least in Africa.
  • After skin cancer, breast cancer represents the second most common cancer type that affects American women.
  • Worldwide, it is the most common type of cancer found in 80% of countries across the globe.
  • Occurrence rates showcase that every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the US.
  • Yearly, 2,670 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the US, whereas around 500 lose their lives because of it.

Breast Cancer Awareness Facts

1. It is reported that 1 in 8 women living in the United States will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.

Unfortunately, over the last couple of years, the diagnosis of breast cancer in women living in the US have become more commonplace. Current research indicates that one in eight women will suffer from this disease during their lifetime. Luckily, with improved treatment plans and early screenings, survival rates are quite favorable, as we will later see in our breast cancer awareness facts.

Source: National Breast Cancer

2. Breast cancer is normally detected during screening examinations, long before the initial symptoms begin showing.

Based on this statistic, we can determine that, at this time, a large percentage of breast cancer cases in the US are determined during screening examinations, rather than after the symptoms have started affecting the patient. Women are more aware of the main signs associated with breast cancer, which helps spot the disease early in its infancy before it spreads and affects other parts of the body. Early detection ensures higher survival rates, as surgery is easier to perform and metastasis can be prevented, according to our statistics on breast cancer.

Source: Cancer.org

3. The two main types of breast cancer are ductal carcinoma in situ, also known as DCIS, and lobular carcinoma in situ, also known as LCIS, or lobular neoplasia. 

Research has shown that DCIS affects roughly 83% of breast cancer patients, whereas LCIS only affects 13% of patients. DCIS is known for its slow growth — hence why there are cases when DCIS-based breast cancer may not affect a woman’s health at all; requiring only regular supervision. LCIS brings with it a higher risk for the development of an invasive form of cancer, thus it is generally considered as more dangerous and harder to treat. Unfortunately, this leads to a higher breast cancer death rate.

Source: Cancer.org

4. 80% of breast cancer cases in the US are infiltrating or invasive.

Unfortunately, breast cancer is known for being invasive. This statistic shows that in 80% of breast cancer cases, the cancerous cells manage to break through the walls/glands/ducts where they initially originated, thus growing into the immediate breast tissue as well. This statistic influences the percentage of breast cancer survivors.

Source: Cancer.org

5. There are 21 histological subtypes and 4 molecular subtypes of breast cancer.

Determining the subtype of cancer is essential as it allows medical professionals to choose an appropriate treatment. The general outcome, the many risk factors, and the manifestation of that particular cancer all depend on its subtype, as reported in several scientific journals. Invasive forms are generally more severe and lead to prolonged medical treatment, as well as lower survival rates.

Source: Cancer.org

Breast Cancer Survival Rate Statistics

6. In the US, the 5-year survival rate for localized breast cancer diagnoses is situated at 99%.

Furthermore, it is important to point out that 62% of all breast cancer cases in the US are discovered and diagnosed when they are still at a localized stage, which means they haven’t spread to other parts of the body. In this case, the survival rate for 5 years is situated at 99%, which is an excellent outcome. However, we mustn’t forget the remaining 38% of breast cancer cases which are discovered later than optimal, thus leading to lower than 5-year survival rates, according to our statistics on breast cancer.

Source: National Breast Cancer

7. Research estimates have determined the presence of more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the US.

Based on this stat, we can conclude that breast cancer is significantly less dangerous when compared to more aggressive and invasive types of the disease. While surgery is generally required, in addition to chemotherapy, and in some cases — radiotherapy, breast cancer is definitely survivable.

Source: National Breast Cancer

8. 5 in 6 women that are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK will survive for at least 5 years.

Based on this, while the breast cancer rate is still fairly high, survivability rates are high as well all across the world; especially so in countries with advanced healthcare systems. To put things into perspective, only 3 out of 6 women would’ve survived the 5 year period in the 1980s.

Source: Breast Cancer Now Organization

9. In the United States, the 10-year survival rate for breast cancer is situated at 83%.

This is a generally good outcome when compared to other types of cancer, where the survivability rates are much lower. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement — after all, no disease that is this common should be able to claim that many lives.

Source: Cancer.net

Breast Cancer Deaths per Year

10. It is estimated that 41,760 women will die from breast cancer this year, in the United States.

For most of these women, cancer, which originated from the breast tissue, has spread throughout the body, thus affecting numerous other organs. In cases like these, treatment is more difficult as performing surgery in multiple areas is dangerous, whereas other treatment plans aren’t as effective as they are in early detection cases.

Source: National Breast Cancer

11. In the UK, 1,000 women die because of breast cancer monthly. 

As such, we can use these stats on breast cancer to determine that roughly 12,000 women die on a yearly basis because of breast cancer in the UK. The same source also showcases that every month in Scotland 80 women die for similar reasons.

Source: Breast Cancer Now Organization

12. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women, after lung cancer.

This statistic is relevant for the United States, yet it has its applicability in many other areas of the world. As such, at this time, breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting women, and the second most deadly. It is important to notice that since 1989, the number of British women dying from breast cancer has decreased annually.

Source: Cancer Net

US Breast Cancer Statistics

13. Current reports indicate that 3 million women are living with breast cancer in the United States.

For a better perspective, there are 327 million people living in the United States. Therefore breast cancer is, sadly, extremely common, especially with women. Thankfully, these patients have a high survivability rate thanks to improved medical treatments. It’s also worth pointing out that, according to US breast cancer statistics, most of these women are already seeking treatment.

Source: Cancer Net

14. 6% of US women already have metastatic cancer when they get their first diagnosis.

This leads to lower 5-year survivability rates, since treating metastatic cancer is more difficult. However, newly-developed treatment plans allow patients, in this case, to continue living with a good quality of life for a period of time, according to our statistics on breast cancer in the USA.

Source: Cancer Net

15. Estimates indicate that during 2019, 268,000 cases of invasive breast cancer will be discovered on women living in the US. For non-invasive forms, the prediction is situated at 62,930.

This estimate originates from the US National Breast Cancer Institute and acts as a prediction for the total number of diagnoses to take place during 2019. Compared to other years, this showcases a relatively stable rate of diagnoses, concluding that, in the short-term, breast cancer rates are not increasing.

Source: National Breast Cancer

16. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer that affects American women, following skin cancer.

This statistic helps us determine that while it remains the deadliest, lung cancer isn’t as common as breast and skin cancer in American women. However, breast cancer’s number two spot does raise concerns, since it has held this position for a prolonged period of time. Hence, if we want to lower breast cancer deaths per year, further research into what determines the occurrence is required.

Source: National Breast Cancer

17. Breast cancer affecting women represents 15.2%. of all new cancer diagnoses in the United States. 

As such, breast cancer is by no chance a rare case of disease, granted that it occurs in 15.2% of cancer cases, according to the United States National Breast Cancer Institute.

Source: National Breast Cancer

18. Analysis of breast cancer rates helps researchers determine that a new woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes in the US.

There are two sides to this statistic. Firstly, it shows that women are seeking medical attention once signs of breast cancer first appear, thus facilitating early detection and increasing the chances of it being cured. On the other hand, one woman every two minutes is way too often.

Source: National Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Statistics Worldwide

19. Unlike the United States, breast cancer represents the most diagnosed form of the disease for women in the United Kingdom.

This means that women living in the UK are statistically less prone to catch skin cancer, as opposed to the women in the US, where it holds the number one spot. This is crucial for increasing awareness in countries that are more likely to be affected by this disease. Additionally, these latest worldwide breast cancer statistics also help prove that the occurrence of breast cancer in women is a global phenomenon.

Source: Breast Cancer Now Organization

20. The vast majority of breast cancers in the UK are discovered as a result of women being breast-aware and regularly checking the shape, form, and size of their breasts.

A lack of breast awareness would normally lead to a higher number of breast cancer discovered later than optimal, thus negatively influencing survival rates. This is a breast cancer fact worth keeping in mind in the long-term.

Source: Breast Cancer Now Organization

21. In 2011, the WHO estimates that 508,000 women have died because of breast cancer.

Half a million women yearly is still a huge number, despite being somewhat lower to death tolls of other forms of the disease, such as lung cancer. It has also been indicated that breast cancer is common in all regions, no matter how well-developed a country may be, according to the latest breast cancer statistics.

Source: World Health Organization

22. A WHO research effort has helped determine the incidence rates of breast cancer throughout the world. Here are some relevant values: 

Location Incidence Rate
Eastern Africa 19.3/100,000 women
Western Europe 89.7/100,000 women
Developing regions 40/100,000

It’s also worth noting that incidence rates throughout the world are increasing, whereas the lowest ones are found in Africa, as per our breast cancer facts.

Source: World Health Organization

23. The highest survival rates are based in North America, Japan, and Sweden (+80%), followed by 60% in countries with middle-income, and by the less lucky low-income regions (40%).

According to the WHO, lower rates are generally the result of existing detection programs, thus leading to a large number of diagnoses where the disease has already advanced to a more severe stage. Inefficient treatment facilities also contribute to this rate.

Source: World Health Organization

Breast Cancer Statistics by Age

24. The rate of breast cancer is lowest for women aged 40 and under; less than 5% of women diagnosed in the US were over 40 years of age.

Despite this, women of all ages should perform constant checks to help spot any difference in the shape, form, and feel of their breasts. Just because a woman falls into a certain category denoted in the breast cancer statistics by age graph, does not mean that she is safe from harm; far from it.

Source: Susan G Komen

25. Rates are highest for women who are aged 70 and older.

Even so, research has helped determine that, in the US, the median age of diagnosis is 62; meaning, 50% of women were diagnosed before this age and 50% afterward.

Source: Susan G Komen 

Male Breast Cancer Statistics

26. Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed possible for men to get breast cancer.

As such, according to the National Breast Cancer Institute, the risk for US-based men is situated at 1 in 1,000; definitely lower when compared to women of the same age.

Source: National Breast Cancer

27. Though it’s rare, 2,670 men will likely be diagnosed in the US this year, whereas 500 will lose their lives because of it.

This male breast cancer statistic helps showcase that male breast cancer should be acknowledged. Regardless if it is rare or not, men all over the world must perform checks from time to time to ensure that they aren’t affected by the disease. Incidence rates have been fairly stable within the last couple of years, yet it is important to note that from a long-term perspective, the occurrence of breast cancer in men has increased, similarly to women, as reported by CDC breast cancer statistics.

Source: National Breast Cancer

28. In the UK, the Breast Cancer Now Organization estimates that 350 men are diagnosed on an annual basis. 30 of these diagnoses take place in Scotland.

It is believed that similar occurrence rates are found in most areas of the world.

Source: Breast Cancer Now Organization

Conclusion

Based on all the breast cancer statistics that have been outlined so far, we can make several conclusory statements. Firstly, while breast cancer represents the most common type of the disease affecting women worldwide, survival rates are thankfully high. Secondly, breast cancer is most common in women living in developed countries. Lastly, educational efforts regarding breast awareness, alongside more efficient treatment clinics, can help exponentially reduce mortality rates.

Nevertheless, we hope that these breast cancer facts will help inspire further research into the prevention and treatment of the disease.

FAQs

How common is breast cancer?

In the US, it is the second most common cancer affecting women. It stands for 15.2% of all newly-diagnosed cancer cases in the US.

How many people die from breast cancer?

Over 500,000 people die from breast cancer annually, worldwide, according to breast cancer survival rate statistics.

What country has the highest rate of breast cancer?

Belgium holds the highest rate of breast cancer since it’s situated at 111.9 in 100,000 people, according to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Which breast is most common for breast cancer?

Studies showcase that cancer in the left breast is 5–10% more likely as opposed to the right breast, and those are genuine breast cancer facts.

What percentage of the population has breast cancer?

Over two million new cases of breast cancer were spotted throughout the world during 2018.

What are the odds of beating breast cancer?

Pretty good, actually. The 5-year survival rate for women suffering from an invasive form of breast cancer is currently situated at 90%,  according to breast cancer statistics. On the other hand, the 10-year survival rate stands at 83%. For breast cancer that hasn’t spread to other regions of the body, we have a rate of 99%.

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