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Breast cancer survival statistics

One-, five- and ten-year survival statistics for female breast cancer by age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data by stage at diagnosis.

The statistics on this page are for invasive breast cancer only. Due to the small numbers of men diagnosed with breast cancer each year, survival data is not routinely available for male breast cancer and is therefore not shown.

Find out more about the counting and coding of this data.

One-, five- and ten-year survival

96% of women survive breast cancer for at least one year, and this is predicted to fall to 87% surviving for five years or more, as shown by age-standardised net survival for patients diagnosed with breast cancer during 2010-2011 in England and Wales (Table 3.1).1

Table 3.1: Breast Cancer (C50), Age-Standardised One-, Five- and Ten-Year Net Survival, Women (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 2010-2011

1-Year Survival (%) 5-Year Survival (%) 10-Year Survival (%)
Women Net Survival 96.0 86.6 78.4
95% LCL 96.0 86.6 78.3
95% UCL 96.0 86.6 78.4

Download this table XLS (31KB) PPT (123KB) PDF (18KB)

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits
Five- and ten-year survival is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model

Female breast cancer survival continues to fall beyond five years after diagnosis. 78% of women are predicted to survive their disease for ten years or more, as shown by age-standardised net survival for patients diagnosed with breast cancer during 2010-2011 in England and Wales (Figure 3.1). 1 Out of 20 common cancers in England and Wales, ten-year survival for breast cancer in women ranks 5th highest overall (and 3rd highest for females only).

Figure 3.1: Breast Cancer (C50), Net Survival up to Ten Years after Diagnosis, Women (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 2010-2011

surv_curve_breast.swf

Download this chart XLS (43KB) PPT (124KB) PDF (51KB)

For women diagnosed with breast cancer during 2001-2003 in England and Wales, 65% are expected to survive for twenty years or more.2

Survival for female breast cancer is reported in Scotland and Northern Ireland,3,4 though it is difficult to make survival comparisons between countries due to different methodologies and criteria for including patients in analyses.

section reviewed 27/11/14
section updated 27/11/14

 

By age

Five-year survival for female breast cancer shows an unusual pattern with age: survival gradually increases from age 15-39 and peaks in women aged between 50 and 69; survival falls thereafter, reaching its lowest point in women aged 80-99. Five-year net survival in women ranges from 85% in 15-39 year-olds to 91% in 50-69 year-olds, and falls to 64% in 80-99 year-olds for patients diagnosed with breast cancer in England during 2007-2011 (Figure 3.2).5

Figure 3.2: Breast Cancer (C50), Five-Year Net Survival by Age, Women, England, 2007-2011

surv_5yr_age_breast.swf

Download this chart XLS (44KB) PPT (125KB) PDF (40KB)

section reviewed 27/11/14
section updated 27/11/14

Trends over time

As with most cancers, survival for female breast cancer is improving. One-year age-standardised net survival for breast cancer in women has increased from 82% during 1971-1972 to 96% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales – an absolute survival difference of 14 percentage points (Figure 3.3).1

Figure 3.3: Breast Cancer (C50), Age-Standardised One-Year Net Survival, Women (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 1971-2011

surv_1yr_breast.swf

Download this chart XLS (46KB) PPT (127KB) PDF (44KB)

Five- and ten-year survival has increased by an even greater amount than one-year survival since the early 1970s. Five-year age-standardised net survival for breast cancer in women has increased from 53% during 1971-1972 to a predicted survival of 87% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales – an absolute survival difference of 34 percentage points (Figure 3.4).1

Figure 3.4: Breast Cancer (C50), Age-Standardised Five-Year Net Survival, Women (Aged 15-99), England and Wales 1971-2011

surv_5yr_breast.swf

Download this chart XLS (46KB) PPT (127KB) PDF (44KB)

Five-year survival for 2010-2011 is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model

Ten-year age-standardised net survival for breast cancer in women has increased from 40% during 1971-1972 to a predicted survival of 78% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales – an absolute survival difference of 38 percentage points (Figure 3.5).1 Overall, almost 8 in 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer today are predicted to survive their disease for at least ten years.

Figure 3.5: Breast Cancer (C50), Age-Standardised Ten-Year Net Survival, Women (Aged 15-99), England and Wales 1971-2011

surv_10yr_breast.swf

Download this chart XLS (46KB) PPT (127KB) PDF (44KB)


Ten-year survival for 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model

section reviewed 27/11/14
section updated 27/11/14

By stage at diagnosis

Survival for female breast cancer is related to stage of the disease at diagnosis. The majority of patients are diagnosed at Stages I or II.

One-year relative survival for female breast cancer ranges from more than 100% at Stage I (which means survival is slightly better than that of the general population) to 57% at Stage IV for patients diagnosed during 2006-2010 in the former Anglia Cancer Network (Figure 3.6).6

Figure 3.6 Breast Cancer (C50), One-Year Relative Survival by Stage, Women (Aged 15-99 Years), Former Anglia Cancer Network, 2006-2010

surv_1yr_stage_w_breast.swf

Download this chart XLS (46KB) PPT (128KB) PDF (48KB)

Relative survival can be greater than 100% because it accounts for background mortality and means that people diagnosed have a better chance of surviving after diagnosis than the general population.

Five-year survival for female breast cancer shows a much more rapid decrease in survival between Stages I and IV. Five-year relative survival in women ranges from 99% at Stage I to 15% at Stage IV for patients diagnosed during 2002-2006 in the former Anglia Cancer Network (Figure 3.7).6

Figure 3.7 Breast Cancer (C50), Five-Year Relative Survival by Stage, Women (Aged 15-99 Years), Former Anglia Cancer Network, 2002-2006

surv_5yr_stage_w_breast.swf

Download this chart XLS (47KB) PPT (128KB) PDF (48KB)

Relative survival can be greater than 100% because it accounts for background mortality and means that people diagnosed have a better chance of surviving after diagnosis than the general population.

In this section, survival by stage is provided for the former Anglia Cancer Network in the east of England.6 Read more about the counting and coding of this data.

section reviewed 27/11/14
section updated 27/11/14

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References for breast cancer survival

  1. Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Personal communication, 2014.
  2. Twenty-year survival data for 2001-2003. Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer survival rates, Long-term Breast Cancer Survival, England and Wales. London: ONS; 2005.
  3. ISD Scotland. Trends in Cancer Survival 1983-2007.
  4. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry. Incidence & Survival 1993-2012.
  5. Office for National Statistics. Statistical Bulletin: Cancer survival in England: Patients diagnosed 2007-2011 and followed up to 2012. Newport: ONS; 2013.
  6. The National Cancer Registration Service, Eastern Office. Personal communication.
Updated: 27 November 2014