About breast cancer

Facts & figures

Global Breast Cancer statistics

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide.
  • In 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 deaths globally with breast cancer surpassing lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer.
  • As of the end of 2020, there were 7.8 million women alive who were diagnosed with breast cancer over the past five years.

UK Breast Cancer statistics

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, that’s 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 (2016-2018).
  • 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 estimated 1 in 7 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
  • A UK man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is around 1 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 is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the UK and the 2nd most common cause of death in women.
  • Around 11,500 breast cancer women and 85 men die from breast cancer in the UK every year. Equivalent to 32 deaths every day.
  • Breast Cancer is the most common cause of death for women between 35-49 years of age.
  • Breast cancer mortality rates have been declining and are projected fall by 26% between 2014 and 2035.
  • The UK has had a consistently high breast cancer mortality rate compared to other European countries.

Breast cancer survival

  • Breast Cancer Survival rates are generally high. Based on 2013-2017 figures: 
  • 95.8% of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive for one year after diagnosis 
  • 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive beyond five years 
  • 75.9% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are predicted to survive for 10 or more years. 

Impact of Covid-19 on those affected by breast cancer

  • 12,000 people in the UK are estimated to be living with undiagnosed breast cancer, due to disruption to screening services caused by the pandemic.
  • Around 10,600 fewer breast cancer patients have started treatment in England over the past year.  
  • The number of people referred for breast cancer checks fell by more than 20,000 in 2020/21 compared to the previous year.

Last Review: July 2021

Next Review: July 2022

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