Breast cancer incidence (invasive) statistics

Cases

New cases of breast cancer each year, 2016-2018 average, UK.

 

Proportion of all cases

Percentage breast cancer is of total cancer cases, 2016-2018, UK

 

Age

Peak rate of breast cancer cases, 2016-2018, UK

Trend over time

Breast cancer incidence rates have changed differently for each sex since the early 1990s, UK

 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 15% of all new cancer cases (2016-2018).[1-4]

In females in the UK, breast cancer is the most common cancer (30% of all new female cancer cases). In males in the UK, it is not among the 20 most common cancers (less than 1% of all new male cancer cases).

99% of breast cancer cases in the UK are in females, and 1% are in males.

Breast cancer incidence rates (European age-standardised (AS) rate Open a glossary item) for persons are similar to the UK average in all the UK constituent countries.

Breast Cancer (C50), Average Number of New Cases Per Year, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2016-2018

  England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland UK
Female Cases 46,479 4,799 2,784 1,483 55,545
Crude Rate 165.2 172.4 175.7 156.0 166.0
AS Rate 169.2 167.8 167.1 167.5 169.0
AS Rate - 95% LCL 168.4 165.0 163.5 162.5 168.2
AS Rate - 95% UCL 170.1 170.5 170.7 172.4 169.8
Male Cases 319 24 19 13 375
Crude Rate 1.2 0.9 1.2 1.4 1.1
AS Rate 1.3 1.0 1.3 1.8 1.3
AS Rate - 95% LCL 1.3 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.2
AS Rate - 95% UCL 1.4 1.2 1.6 2.4 1.4
Persons Cases 46,798 4,823 2,803 1,496 55,920
Crude Rate 84.1 88.9 89.7 80.0 84.7
AS Rate 89.4 90.0 88.6 89.3 89.5
AS Rate - 95% LCL 89.0 88.6 86.7 86.7 89.0
AS Rate - 95% UCL 89.9 91.5 90.4 91.9 89.9

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits around the AS Rate Open a glossary item
 

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/, March 2021.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2016-2018, ICD-10 C50.

Last reviewed:

Breast cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2016-2018, on average each year around a quarter of new cases (24%) were in people aged 75 and over.[1-4]

Age-specific incidence rates rise steadily from age 25-29, more steeply from age 35-39 in females and from age 60-64 in males. The highest rates are in in the 90+ age group for females and the 85 to 89 age group for males.

Incidence rates are significantly higher in females than males in most age groups. The gap is widest at age 30 to 34, when the age-specific incidence rate is 2066 times higher in females than males.

Breast cancer (C50), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Females, 2016-2018

For female breast cancer, like most cancer types, incidence increases with age. There is a brief plateau shortly after age 50 when routine screening starts, reflecting the diagnosis of prevalent cases at first-time screening. The brief drop in incidence shortly after age 70 when routine screening ends may be a compensatory drop as screening has brought forward diagnoses in women in this age group; incidence subsequently returns to the rates expected.

Breast cancer (C50), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Males, 2016-2018

The overall increase in incidence with age largely reflects cell DNA damage accumulating over time. Damage can result from biological processes or from exposure to risk factors. A drop or plateau in incidence in the oldest age groups often indicates reduced diagnostic activity perhaps due to general ill health.

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/, March 2021.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2016-2018, ICD-10 C50.

Last reviewed:

Breast cancer European age-standardised (AS) Open a glossary item incidence rates for females and males combined increased by 18% in the UK between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018.[1-4] The change varied markedly between sexes.

For females, breast cancer AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 24% between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018. For males, breast cancer AS incidence rates in the UK remained stable between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2006-2008 and 2016-2018), breast cancer AS incidence rates for females and males combined increased by 3%. In females AS incidence rates increased by 5%, and in males rates remained stable.

Breast Cancer (C50), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Females, UK, 1993 to 2018

Breast Cancer (C50), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Males, UK, 1993 to 2018

Breast cancer incidence rates have increased overall in all broad adult age groups in females in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 25-49s have increased by 17%, in 50-64s have increased by 13%, in 65-69s have increased by 67%, in 70-79s have increased by 32% and in 80+s have increased by 18%.

Breast Cancer (C50), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates per 100,000 Female Population, By Age, UK, 1993-2018

Breast cancer incidence rates have remained stable overall in all broad adult age groups in males in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 25-49s have remained stable, in 50-64s have remained stable, in 65-69s have remained stable, in 70-79s have remained stable and in 80+s have remained stable.

Breast Cancer (C50), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates per 100,000 Male Population, By Age, UK, 1993-2018

For breast cancer, like most cancer types, incidence trends largely reflect changing prevalence of risk factors and improvements in diagnosis and data recording. Recent incidence trends are influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past, and trends by age group reflect risk factor exposure in birth cohorts.The introduction of the breast screening programmes in the late-1980s also plays a part for females.

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/, March 2021.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2018, ICD-10 C50.

Last reviewed:

The most common specific location for invasive breast cancers in the UK is the upper-outer quadrant of the breast (2016-2018).[1-4] Variation of incidence by anatomical site may reflect the physical size of each site, and differences in risk factor exposure by site, among other factors.

Cases and percentages may not sum due to rounding

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales, March 2021. https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, June 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

About this data

Data is for UK, 2016-2018, ICD-10 C50. For some cases the specific location of the cancer is not recorded, this may be due to clinical or data recording factors.

Last reviewed:

Breast cancer incidence rates are projected to rise by 2% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 210 cases per 100,000 females by 2035.[1]

Breast cancer (C50), Observed and Projected Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1979-2035

It is projected that 71,022 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the UK in 2035.

References

  1. Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 1979-2014 (observed), 2015-2035 (projected), ICD-10 C50

Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment. It is not possible to assess the statistical significance of changes between 2014 (observed) and 2035 (projected) figures. Confidence intervals are not calculated for the projected figures. Projections are by their nature uncertain because unexpected events in future could change the trend. It is not sensible to calculate a boundary of uncertainty around these already uncertain point estimates. Changes are described as 'increase' or 'decrease' if there is any difference between the point estimates.

More on projections methodology

Last reviewed:

Breast cancer incidence rates (European age-standardised (AS) rates Open a glossary item) in England in females are 14% lower in the most deprived quintile compared with the least, and in males are similar in the most deprived quintile compared with the least (2013-2017).[1]

It is estimated that there are around 3,000 fewer cases of breast cancer each year in England in females than there would be if every deprivation quintile had the same age-specific crude incidence rates as the least deprived quintile.

Breast Cancer (C50), Estimated Average Number of Fewer Cases per Year, by Deprivation Quintile, England, 2013-2017

Breast Cancer (C50), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, by Deprivation Quintile, England, 2013-2017

No data are shown for males as the difference in age-standardised incidence rates between most and least deprived quintiles is not significant for males.

References

  1. Calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, April 2020. Based on method reported in National Cancer Intelligence Network Cancer by Deprivation in England Incidence, 1996-2010 Mortality, 1997-2011 . Using cancer incidence data 2013-2017 (Public Health England) and population data 2013-2017 (Office for National Statistics) by Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2015 income domain quintile, cancer type, sex, and five-year age band.

About this data

Data is for England, 2013-2017, ICD-10 C21.

Last reviewed:

An estimated 491,300 women who had been diagnosed with female breast cancer between 1991 and 2010 were alive in the UK at the end of 2010.[1]

References

  1. Macmillan Cancer Support and National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service. Cancer Prevalence UK Data Tables. London: NCRAS; 2015.

About this data

Data is for: Great Britain (1991-2010) and Northern Ireland (1993-2010), ICD-10 C50.

Last reviewed:

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