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How Many Women Die From Breast Cancer

Uk Breast Cancer Statistics

Why Black women are more at risk of dying from breast cancer

Incidence of breast cancer in the UK

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.
  • Breast cancer represented 15% of all new cancer cases in 2017.
  • There are around 56,000 new cases of breast cancer every year, thats over 150 cases every day.
  • In women, there were 55, 545 new cases in 2016-2018.
  • 17.9% of breast cancers were in women under 50, between 2016-2018.
  • 24% of breast cancers occurred in women over 75 .
  • In men, there were 375 new cases between 2016-2018.

The growth of breast cancer over the years

Breast cancer in UK women has:

  • increased by 24%between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018
  • increased by 5% between 2006- 2008 and 2016-2018.
  • dropped by 2% between 2013-2015 and 2016-2018.

Breast Cancer in women in England has doubled over the past 50 years.

Rates for men have remained stable over the past two decades.

The overall risk of getting breast cancer

  • A woman born after 1960 and living in the UK has an estimated1 in 7 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
  • A UK mans lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is around1 in 870.

Breast cancer prevention

  • The proportion of breast cancer cases that can be prevented is estimated to be between 23%-37%.
  • It is estimated that at least, 13,000 breast cancer cases could be prevented by making lifestyle changes.

Breast cancer mortality

Breast cancer survival

Impact of Covid-19 on those affected by breast cancer

World Health Organisation Breast Cancer available at:

Breast Cancer Mortality Over Time

Breast cancer mortality rates in the U.S. increased slowly from 1975 through the 1980s .

From 1989-2018 , breast cancer mortality decreased by 41 percent due to improved breast cancer treatment and early detection . Since 1989, about 403,200 breast cancer deaths in U.S. women have been avoided .

Breast cancer mortality in women decreased by about one percent per year from 2014-2018 . Different breast cancer mortality trends may have been seen in some groups of women.

Health Disparities In Young African Americans

In addition to these unique issues, research has shown that young African American women face even greater challenges.

  • African American women under age 35 have rates of breast cancer two times higher than caucasian women under age 35.14
  • African Americans under age 35 die from breast cancer three times as often as caucasian women of the same age.14
  • Researchers believe that access to healthcare and the quality of healthcare available may explain these disparities. But scientists continue to investigate.
  • Research also shows that young African Americans are more likely to get aggressive forms of breast cancer than anyone else.14

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Incidence Rates And The Number Of New Cases

To know whether or not breast cancer rates are changing over time, you have to compare rates, rather than the number of new cases.

For example, lets compare the number of new cases of breast cancer in U.S. in 2009 to the number of new cases in 2016. In 2009, there were an estimated 192,370 new cases of breast cancer in U.S. women . In 2016, there were an estimated 246,660 new cases .

Although more breast cancer cases occurred in 2016 than in 2009, this doesnt mean the rate of breast cancer increased over this time period.

We expect the number of cases to increase over time because the population of the U.S. increases over time . The more people there are, the more cancers there will be.

Our population is also living longer . Since age increases the risk of breast cancer, we expect to have more breast cancers over time.

To know if breast cancer rates are changing over time, we look at incidence rates, rather than the number of new cases. The incidence rate shows the number of breast cancer cases in a set population size. Its usually written as the number of cases in a population of 100,000 people.

The breast cancer incidence rate among women in 2009 was 131 and the estimated breast cancer incidence rate in 2016 was also 131 . This means there were 131 breast cancer cases per 100,000 women in the U.S. population in both time periods.

So, although the number of breast cancer cases increased over time, breast cancer rates were fairly stable.

New Cases And Mortality Rates: Trends

Too many women dying from breast cancer  San Bernardino ...

As we can see from our above line graph showing breast cancer trends over the years, the death rate from breast cancer has steadily .

However, since 2007 the death rates in younger women have remained stable, whilst for older women, they have continued to further.

For a full analysis of breast cancer incidence rates and a more in-depth look at the trends please see our new post here.

Recent studies suggest the periodic rise in new incidences combined with the steady decline of breast cancer deaths reflect the increase of screening mammography, better understanding of tumor biology and improvements in treatment.

One of the most important prognostic factors is the stage of cancer at diagnosis. Hence, the widespread adoption of screening mammography led to breast cancers being detected at an earlier stage when treatment is effective. Furthermore, advances in treatment have added to the decline in mortality rates.

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In Situ Breast Carcinoma Incidence

  • There are around 8,100 new breast carcinoma in situ cases in the UK every year, thatâs 22 every day .
  • In females in the UK, breast carcinoma in situ accounted for around 8,200 new cancer cases in 2017.
  • In males in the UK, breast carcinoma in situ accounted for around 40 new cancer cases in 2017.
  • Incidence rates for breast carcinoma in situ in the UK are highest in people aged 65 to 69 .
  • Each year around a tenth of all new breast carcinoma in situ cases in the UK are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over .
  • Since the early 1990s, breast carcinoma in situ incidence rates have almost tripled in the UK. Rates in females have almost tripled , and rates in males have increased by more than nine-tenths .
  • Over the last decade, breast carcinoma in situ incidence rates have increased by a third in the UK. Rates in males have remained stable, and rates in females have increased by a third .
  • Most in situ breast carcinomas are intraductal.
  • In situ breast carcinoma is more common in White females than in Asian or Black females.
  • Breast carcinoma in situ incidence rates in England in females are 28% lower in the most deprived quintile compared with the least, and in males are similar in the most deprived quintile compared with the least .
  • Around 910 cases of breast carcinoma in situ each year in England in females are linked with lower deprivation.
  • 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.

Metastatic Breast Cancer At Diagnosis

Most often, metastatic breast cancer arises months or years after a person has completed treatment for early or locally advanced breast cancer.

Some people have metastatic breast cancer when they are first diagnosed. This is called de novo metastatic breast cancer. In the U.S., 9 percent of men have metastases when they are first diagnosed with breast cancer .

Learn more about metastatic breast cancer.

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Breast Cancer Mortality Rates Over Time

Breast cancer mortality rates in the U.S. increased slowly from 1975 through the 1980s .

From 1989-2018 , the breast cancer mortality rate decreased by 41 percent due to improved breast cancer treatment and early detection . Since 1989, about 403,200 breast cancer deaths in U.S. women have been avoided .

The breast cancer mortality rate in women decreased by about one percent per year from 2014-2018 . Different breast cancer mortality rate trends may have been seen in some groups of women.

Screening For Breast Cancer

Despite gains in research, Black women 40% more likely to die from breast cancer

Women aged between 50 and 74 are invited to access free screening mammograms every two years via the BreastScreen Australia Program.

Women aged 40-49 and 75 and over are also eligible to receive free mammograms, however they do not receive an invitation to attend.

It is recommended that women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, aged between 40 and 49 or over 75 discuss options with their GP, or contact BreastScreen Australia on 13 20 50.

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Percent Of Breast Cancer Deaths By Age

According to the SEER statistics, between the years 2010 and 2014, the average age of diagnosis of breast cancer was 62 years. Furthermore, breast cancer in women is most often diagnosed between the ages of 55 and 64 years.

From the same statistics, the per cent of women who die from breast cancer is also highest between the ages of 55 and 64. The average age of death from breast cancer for women is a little higher at 68 years.

Why Are So Many Women Still Dying Of Breast Cancer

The number of women dying from metastatic breast cancer hasnt changed since the 1970s. Thankfully, theres a network of committed activists determined to change that.

We urgently need your help. DAME reports the stories that need to be told, from perspectives that arent heard enough. In times of crisis it is even more critical that these voices are not overlooked, but COVID-19 has impacted our ability to keep publishing. Please support our mission by joining today to help us keep reporting.

In March 2014, Beth Caldwell was doing a routine self-exam in the shower and found a lump. She went about her day trying to ignore it, then had her husband check after work that the lump was really there. It was, so she scheduled an appointment with her doctor who sent her for some testing.

The radiologist couldnt diagnose me, they need a biopsy for that, but she was making it clear that she thought I had cancer, Caldwell says.

She was 37, and had two young children, not the usual profile for breast cancer, and in fact three years short of the age when most experts recommend that women start getting regular mammograms. The biopsy came back positive and they scheduled Caldwell for a PET scan, as well as surgery to have a port put in for chemotherapy.

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What Are Causes And Risk Factors Of Male Breast Cancer

As with cancer of the female breast, the cause of cancer of the male breast has not been fully characterized, but both environmental influences and genetic factors likely play a role in its development. The following health risk factors for the development of male breast cancer have been identified.

Radiation exposure

Exposure to ionizing radiation has been associated with an increased risk of developing male breast cancer. Men who have previously undergone radiation therapy to treat malignancies in the chest area have an increased risk for the development of breast cancer.


Klinefelter’s syndrome

Klinefelter’s syndrome is an inherited health condition affecting about one in 1,000 men. A normal man has two sex chromosomes . He inherited the female X chromosome from his mother and the male Y chromosome from his father. Men with Klinefelter’s syndrome have inherited an extra female X chromosome, resulting in an abnormal sex chromosome makeup of XXY rather than the normal male XY. Affected Klinefelter’s patients produce high levels of estrogen and develop enlarged breasts, sparse facial and body hair, small testes, and the inability to produce sperm. Some studies have shown an increase in the risk of developing breast cancer in men with this condition. Their risk for development of breast cancer is markedly increased, up to 50 times that of normal men.

Cirrhosis of the liver

Familial predisposition

Finasteride use

Global Breast Cancer Mortality Rates

Myth: If you get breast cancer you will die from it ...

In 2011 over 508,000 women died of breast cancer worldwide according to the World Health Organization .

Although breast cancer is often associated with the developed world almost half of all breast cancer cases and 58% of deaths occur in less developed countries.

In 2012 the top 20 countries for breast cancer survival rates are in the table below taken from World Cancer Research Fund International . The ranking of the countries is based upon the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer who were alive 5 years later. Figures are based on breast cancer survivors per 100,000 adult women.

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Good News About Breast Cancer Trends

In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part due to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

Mammography And Rates Of Early Detection Over Time

Mammography screening became widely available in the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s. During this time, diagnoses of early stage breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ , increased greatly . This was likely due to the increased use of mammography screening during this time period .

Among women 50 and older, rates of DCIS increased from 7 cases per 100,000 women in 1980 to 83 cases per 100,000 women in 2008 . From 2012-2016, rates of DCIS declined by about 2 percent per year .

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Unique Challenges For Young Adults

Breast cancer in young adults is just different. We are at a different phase of our lives and encounter unique challenges compared to older persons. These challenges may significantly impact our quality and length of life. Some of the unique challenges and issues young adults face:

  • The possibility of early menopause and sexual dysfunction brought on by breast cancer treatment
  • Fertility issues, because breast cancer treatment can affect a womanâs ability and plans to have children
  • Many young women are raising small children while enduring treatment and subsequent side effects
  • Young breast cancer survivors have a higher prevalence of psychosocial issues such as anxiety and depression13
  • Questions about pregnancy after diagnosis
  • Heightened concerns about body image, especially after breast cancer-related surgery and treatment
  • Whether married or single, intimacy issues may arise for women diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Challenges to financial stability due to workplace issues, lack of sufficient health insurance and the cost of cancer care

The Relative Mortality Risk Of Breast Cancer Compared To Deaths From All Causes

New study shows how many women over 40 develop breast cancer

The risk of death from breast cancer, for women aged 40-49, is 0.35%, or 1 in 291. By comparison, the risk for death from all causes in about 2.7%, or 1 in 39.

50-59-year-olds have a mortality risk from breast cancer of about 0.65 %, or 1 in 155, compared to an all-cause mortality risk of 6.6%, or 1 in 16.

Women aged 60-69 have approximately a 0.9% chance of mortality from breast cancer or 1 in 112. This compares to mortality risk from all causes at about 15% or 1 in 7.

For women over 70, the risk of death due to breast cancer is about 1.15% or 1 in 87, whilst the risk of death from all causes is about 34% or 1 in 3.

So, whilst the chances of a woman developing some form of breast cancer during her entire lifetime are relatively high at approximately 1 in 8 or 1 in 9, breast cancer does not account for high mortality rates compared to death by all causes.

This means that for women aged 40-49, that death due to breast cancer accounts for perhaps 15% to 16% of all deaths.

For those aged 50-59 breast cancer accounts for perhaps 14% of all mortality rates. For women aged 60-69 breast cancer is about 10% of the overall mortality risk, whilst for women over 70 the risk of mortality due to breast cancer is only about 5%.

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A Note Of Caution For Breast Cancer Mortality Rates

The up-dated posts that I have recently made on breast cancer survival statistics and incidence rates are a guide only. The facts, figures, graphs and bar charts are derived from statistics for large amounts of women over many years.

It can NOT be stressed enough that each case is individual and there are many complex and interlinked factors that affect the prognosis and outcome.

General mortality rates do not reflect the many factors that affect prognosis. These include the stage of breast cancer at diagnosis, type of tumor, age at diagnosis, ethnicity and more.

For a full discussion on these issues see our recent post, Breast Cancer Survival Rates.

Breast Cancer Mortality Rates Worldwide

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality among women in most countries in the world .

Its estimated more than 680,000 breast cancer deaths occurred worldwide in 2020 .

Rates of breast cancer mortality vary around the world

Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality among women in developing countries .

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer mortality among women in developed countries .

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Breast Cancer Facts & Figures

The National Breast Cancer Coalition is a grassroots organization dedicated to ending breast cancer through action and advocacy. The following are a few statistics that speak to the need to end this deadly disease.

You can also download a PDF of the 2021 Facts & Figures here.

In 2020 there were 684,996 deaths from breast cancer globally. .

In 2021, it is estimated that 43,600 women and 530 men will die of breast cancer. .

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