Breast cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of breast cancer, 2011, UK

Deaths

Deaths from breast cancer, 2012, UK

Survival

Survive breast cancer for 10 or more years (females only), 2010-11, England and Wales

Prevention

Preventable cases of breast cancer, UK

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.
  • The lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is 1 in 8 for women in the UK.
  • In the UK in 2011 around 49,900 women were diagnosed with breast cancerthat’s more than 130 women every day.
  • Around 350 men in the UK were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.
  • Female breast cancer incidence rates in Great Britain have increased by 72% since the mid-1970s.
  • In the last ten years, female breast cancer incidence rates in the UK have increased by 7%.
  • Around 8 in 10 breast cancers are diagnosed in women aged 50 and over.
  • 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.

Read more in-depth breast cancer incidence (invasive) statistics

Read more in-depth in-situ breast carcinoma incidence statistics

  • In 2012 in the UK around 11,600 women died from breast cancer, that's around 32 every day.
  • Around 75 men died from breast cancer in the UK in 2012.
  • In 2012 in the UK around 1,200 deaths from breast cancer occurred in women aged under 50.
  • Since peaking in the mid-1980s, female breast cancer death rates have fallen by 40% in the UK.
  • In the last ten years female death rates for breast cancer in the UK have fallen by around a fifth.
  • In the UK breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women after lung cancer.
  • Around three-quarters of breast cancer deaths in the UK are in women aged 60 and over.
  • 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.

Read more in-depth breast cancer mortality statistics

  • Breast cancer survival rates have been improving for forty years. More women are surviving breast cancer than ever before.
  • In the 1970s, just over half of women with breast cancer survived the disease beyond five years. Now it's more than 8 in 10.
  • Women diagnosed with breast cancer are now twice as likely to survive their disease for at least ten years, compared with those diagnosed forty years ago.
  • Almost 8 in 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer now survive their disease for at least ten years.
  • Almost 2 in 3 women diagnosed with breast cancer now survive their disease beyond 20 years.
  • More than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least five years. This figure is around 15% for those women who are diagnosed with the most advanced stage disease.

Read more in-depth breast cancer survival statistics

  • 27% of breast cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A person’s risk of developing breast cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics (including BRCA gene mutations), and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle 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 cause 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.

Read more in-depth breast cancer risk factors

  • In FY2009/10, more than 2,750,000 women were invited for screening in the UK.
  • Total number of women screened in FY2009/10 in the UK was nearly 2,020,000.
  • Around 16,500 cancers and tumours were detected by screening in the UK in FY2009/10.

Read more in-depth breast screening statistics

The latest statistics available for breast cancer in the UK are; incidence 2011, mortality 2012,survival 2010-2011 and screening in the UK is 2009/10 and England is 2010/11. Data for in situ breast carcinoma are; incidence 2010, mortality and survival data are not available. 

The ICD code Open a glossary item for breast cancer is ICD-10 C50. The ICD code for in situ breast carcinoma (non-invasive tumours of the breast) is ICD-10 D05, of which there are two main types: lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS; ICD-10 D05.0) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS; ICD-10 D05.1).

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, stages Open a glossary item and co-morbidities Open a glossary item. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics. 

Survival by stage is not yet routinely available for the UK due to inconsistencies in the collecting and recording of staging data in the past. Survival by stage is available for the former Anglia Cancer Network in the east of England, however. The former Anglia Cancer Network covers around 5% of the population of England and may not be representative of the country as a whole due to differences in underlying demographic factors (such as age, deprivation or ethnicity), as well as variation in local healthcare provision standards and policies.

Meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and most take study quality into account. Individual case-control  and cohort studies Open a glossary item are reported where such aggregated data are lacking. The evidence on this page is for female breast cancer unless otherwise specified.

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. 

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