Breast cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of invasive breast cancer, 2013, 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

  • There were around 53,700 new cases of breast cancer in the UK in 2013, that’s 150 cases diagnosed every day.
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK (2013).
  • Breast cancer accounts for 15% of all new cases in the UK (2013).
  • In males, there were around 340 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in the UK in 2013.
  • In females in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer, with around 53,400 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • Almost half (46%) of female breast cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in females aged 65 and over (2011-2013).
  • Around half (51%) of male breast cancer cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in men aged 70 and over (2011-2013).
  • Since the late 1970s, breast cancer incidence rates have increased by more than half (54%) in Great Britain, though this includes an increase in females (64%) and stable rates in males.
  • Over the last decade, breast cancer incidence rates have increased by around a twentieth (4%) in the UK, though this includes an increase in females (6%) and stable rates in males.
  • Most breast cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage.
  • Breast cancer in England is less common in females living in the most deprived areas. There is no association for males.
  • Most invasive breast cancers occur in the upper-outer quadrant of the breast.
  • 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.
  • 1 in 8 women and 1 in 870 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.

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

  • There were around 7,300 new cases of in situ breast carcinoma in the UK in 2013, that’s 20 cases diagnosed every day.
  • In males, there were around 20 cases of in situ breast carcinoma diagnosed in the UK in 2013.
  • In females, there were around 7,300 cases of in situ breast carcinoma diagnosed in the UK in 2013.
  • Almost half (48%) of female in situ breast carcinoma cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in females aged 60 and over (2011-2013).
  • Most in situ breast carcinomas are intraductal.
  • Since the late 1970s, in situ breast carcinoma incidence rates in females have increased more than 6 fold (534% increase) in Great Britain.
  • Over the last decade, in situ breast carcinoma incidence rates in females have increased by around two-fifths (41%) in the UK.

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.
  • 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.

Read more in-depth breast cancer mortality statistics

  • 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 40-49 and 60-69 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 in England and Wales survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's around 8 in 10.
  • When diagnosed at its earliest stage, all women with breast cancer are expected to survive their disease for five years or more, compared with 3 in 20 women when the disease diagnosed at the latest stage..

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

  • '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.
  • ‘Two-week wait’ referral is the most common route to diagnosis of breast cancer.
  • Around three quarters of breast cancer patients receive major surgical resection as part of their cancer treatment.
  • 9 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
  • Around 9 in 10 patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.
  • 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 FY2010/11.
  • 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.
  • 9 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
  • Almost 95% of patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.

See more in-depth in situ breast carcinoma diagnosis and treatment statistics

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The latest statistics available for breast cancer in the UK are; incidence 2013, mortality 2012, 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.

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).

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, 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.

Stage at diagnosis data is not yet routinely available for the UK due to inconsistencies in the collecting and recording of staging data in the past.

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.

Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2012-2013.

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.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.

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