Want the key stats in the sections on this page as a document? or looking for a stats report of the in-depth stats? Use the print function at the bottom of any Cancer Stats page Share this page > Print or your browser options to print or save.
Breast cancer statistics
New cases of invasive breast cancer, 2015, UK
Deaths from breast cancer, 2014, UK
Survive breast cancer for 10 or more years (females only), 2010-11, England and Wales
Preventable cases of breast cancer, UK
- There are around 54,900 new breast cancer cases in the UK every year, that's around 150 every day (2013-2015).
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 15% of all new cancer cases (2015).
- In males in the UK, breast cancer is not among the 20 most common cancers, with around 370 new cases in 2015.
- In females in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, with around 54,800 new cases in 2015.
- Incidence rates for breast cancer in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2013-2015).
- Since the early 1990s, breast cancer incidence rates have increased by a fifth (20%) in the UK, however this includes rates in males remaining stable, and an increase in females (25%).
- Over the last decade, breast cancer incidence rates have increased by around a twentieth (4%) in the UK. Rates in males have remained stable, and rates in females have increased by around a twentieth (6%).
- More than 1 in 10 breast cancer cases are diagnosed late in England (2014), Scotland (2014-2015) and Northern Ireland (2010-2014).
- Most invasive breast cancers occur in the upper-outer quadrant of the breast.
- Incidence rates for breast cancer are projected to rise by 2% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 210 cases per 100,000 females by 2035.
- 1 in 8 women and 1 in 870 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
- Breast cancer in England is less common in females living in the most deprived areas. There is no association for males.
- Breast cancer is more common in White females than in Asian or Black females.
- An estimated 491,300 women who had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer were alive in the UK at the end of 2010.
- In Europe, more than 464,000 new cases of breast cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. The UK incidence rate is sixth highest in Europe.
- Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 1.68 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world.
- There are around 7,700 new breast carcinoma in situ cases in the UK every year, that's 21 every day (2013-2015).
- In males in the UK, there were around 30 new cases of breast carcinoma in situ in 2015.
- In females in the UK, there were around 7,900 new cases of breast carcinoma in situ in 2015.
- Incidence rates for breast carcinoma in situ in the UK are highest in people aged 65 to 69 (2013-2015).
- Since the early 1990s, breast carcinoma in situ incidence rates have almost tripled (186%) in the UK. Rates in males have increased by four-fifths (80%), and rates in females have increased by almost three times (187%).
- Over the last decade, breast carcinoma in situ incidence rates have increased by almost half (46%) in the UK. Rates in males have remained stable, and rates in females have increased by almost half (47%).
- Most in situ breast carcinomas are intraductal.
- In situ breast carcinoma is more common in White females than in Asian or Black females.
- An estimated 63,800 women who had previously been diagnosed with in situ breast carcinoma were alive in the UK at the end of 2010.
- There were around 11,400 breast cancer deaths in the UK in 2014, that’s 31 deaths every day.
- Breast cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the UK (2014).
- Breast cancer accounts for 7% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014).
- In males in the UK, there were around 75 breast cancer deaths in 2014.
- In females in the UK, breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death, with around 11,400 deaths in 2014.
- Almost half (47%) of female breast cancer deaths in the UK each year are in females aged 75 and over (2012-2014).
- Mortality rates for female breast cancer in the UK are highest in females aged 90+ (2012-2014).
- Since the early 1970s, female breast cancer mortality rates have decreased by around a third (32%) in the UK.
- Over the last decade, female breast cancer mortality rates have decreased by less than a fifth (17%) in the UK.
- Almost 6 in 10 (55%) of male breast cancer deaths in the UK each year are in males aged 75 and over (2012-2014).
- Mortality rates for male breast cancer in the UK are highest in males aged 90+ (2012-2014).
- Since the early 1970s, breast cancer mortality rates in males have decreased by almost two-fifths (39%) in the UK.
- Over the last decade breast cancer mortality rates in males have remained stable in the UK.
- Mortality rates for breast cancer are projected to fall by 26% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 31 deaths per 100,000 females by 2035.
- Breast cancer deaths in England are more common in females living in the most deprived areas. There is no association for males.
- In Europe, more than 131,000 women were estimated to have died from breast cancer in 2012. The UK mortality rate is 14th highest in Europe.
- Worldwide it is estimated that around 522,000 women died from breast cancer in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.
- Around two-thirds (65%) of women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for twenty years or more (2010-11).
- Almost 8 in 10 (78%) women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11).
- Almost 9 in 10 (87%) women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for five years or more (2010-11).
- Around 95% (96%) of women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for one year or more (2010-11).
- Breast cancer survival in England is highest for women diagnosed aged 60-69, probably because of screening, and less favourable tumour characteristics in younger women (2009-2013).
- Around 9 in 10 women in England diagnosed with breast cancer between ages 40-69 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with 7 in 10 women diagnosed aged 80 and over (2009-2013).
- Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK.
- In the 1970s, 4 in 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's around 8 in 10.
- When diagnosed at its earliest stage, around all women with breast cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with 3 in 20 women when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage.
- Five-year relative survival for breast cancer in women is below the European average in England, Wales and Scotland but similar to the European average in Northern Ireland.
- A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
- 27% of breast cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
- Oestrogen exposure is the main potentially avoidable risk factor for breast cancer. Some other factors may relate to breast cancer risk partly because they are related to oestrogen levels.
- An estimated 27% of female breast cancers in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors including overweight and obesity (9%), alcohol (6%), and certain occupational exposures (5%).
- Oral contraceptives, some types of hormone replacement therapy, ionising radiation, and diethylstilbestrol use in pregnancy are causes of breast cancer.
- Breastfeeding and physical activity protect against breast cancer (breastfeeding each child for less than 6 months, and physical inactivity, are each linked to an estimated 3% of female breast cancer cases in the UK).
- Smoking, certain medical conditions, total dietary fat, and being taller may relate to higher breast cancer risk, but evidence is unclear.
- 'Two-week wait' is the most common route to diagnosing breast cancer.
- Screening is the route with the highest proportion of cases diagnosed at an early stage, for breast cancer.
- 'Two-week wait' standards are met by all countries, '31-day wait' is met by all but Wales, and ‘62-day wait’ is met by all but Wales for breast cancer.
- 81% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer have surgery to remove the tumour as part of their primary cancer treatment.
- 63% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer have radiotherapy as part of their primary cancer treatment.
- 34% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer have chemotherapy as part of their primary cancer treatment.
- Around three-quarters (74%) of women in the UK who are invited for breast screening are screened with a definitive usable result within 6 months of invitation.
- Breast screening uptake in the UK has fallen slightly since 2010/11.
- Less than 1 per 100 screened women in the UK have cancer detected through breast screening. Around 8 in 10 of these are invasive cancers.
- For every breast cancer death prevented through screening, 3 women will be overdiagnosed.
The latest statistics available for breast cancer in the UK are; incidence 2015, mortality 2014, survival 2010-2011 (all ages combined) and 2009-2013 (by age) and screening in the UK is 2009-2010 and England is 2010-2011. Data for in situ breast carcinoma are; incidence 2013, mortality and survival data are not available.
European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 2013 European Standard Population (ESP). Previous content used the 1976 European Standard Population. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.
Lifetime risk estimates were calculated using incidence, mortality, population and all-cause mortality data for 2012 for females and 2010-2012 for males due to the small number of cases.
Due to the small numbers of men diagnosed with breast cancer each year, most of the information in these pages refers to females only but there are some statistics for breast cancer in males.
Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages,
Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2012-2013. Staging proportions only include patients with a known stage (cases with an unknown stage at diagnosis are not included in the denominator).
Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Breast cancer is part of the group 'Breast cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: invasive breast cancer and breast in situ.
Cancer surgical resection rates data is for patients diagnosed in England between 2006 and 2010.
Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who were in active treatment between September and November 2013 and who completed a survey in 2014.
The latest statistics available for breast screening in the UK are financial year 2012/13.
The breast screening programmes’ definition of breast cancer includes ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) tumours as well as invasive cancer and so the ICD codes for statistics on the screening statistics pages are mostly ICD-10 C50 and D05.1, which is different to the other breast statistics on this site.
Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using incidence data for three time periods: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 and for mortality for two time periods: 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. The 1997-2001 mortality data were only used for the all cancers combined group as this time period includes the change in coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The deprivation quintiles were calculated using the Income domain scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the following years: 2004, 2007 and 2010. Full details on the data and methodology can be found in the Cancer by Deprivation in England NCIN report.
You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK content for your own work.
Credit us as authors by referencing Cancer Research UK as the primary source. Suggested styles are:
Web content: Cancer Research UK, full URL of the page, Accessed [month] [year].
Publications: Cancer Research UK ([year of publication]), Name of publication, Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when reused unaltered): Credit: Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when recreated with differences): Based on a graphic created by Cancer Research UK.
When Cancer Research UK material is used for commercial reasons, we encourage a donation to our life-saving research.
Send a cheque payable to Cancer Research UK to: Cancer Research UK, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London, EC1V 4AD or
We are grateful to the many organisations across the UK which collect, analyse, and share the data which we use, and to the patients and public who consent for their data to be used. Find out more about the sources which are essential for our statistics.