About breast cancer

Facts and figures

Global breast cancer statistics

  • In 2022, 11.6% of all cancers diagnosed were female breast cancer, making it the second most common cancer worldwide (1).
  • In 2022, there were around 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 666,000 deaths globally, making it the leading cause of cancer deaths among women (1).
  • In 2022, there were 8.2 million people alive who were diagnosed with breast cancer over the past 5 years (2).
  • In 2019, there were around 25,100 men diagnosed with breast cancer and around 12,100 deaths globally (3).


UK & England breast cancer statistics

Incidence of breast cancer in the UK [average per year, based on 2016-2018 data, unless stated otherwise]

  • There are around 56,000 new cases of breast cancer in women every year: that’s over 150 cases every day (4).
  • In men, there were about 400 new breast cancer cases each year (5).
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, representing 15% of all new cancer cases, and 30% of new cancer cases in females (4).
  • 96% of breast cancers were in women over 40 (6).
  • 18% of breast cancers were in women under 50 and 82% in those 50 or older (6).
  • 24% of breast cancers occurred in women over 75 (6).
  • Each year, there are around 8300 in situ breast carcinoma cases, a non-invasive form of breast cancer which if untreated may lead to invasive breast cancer (7).
  • In 2021, 85% of breast cancers in women were diagnosed at stage 1 or stage 2 (early-stage breast cancer which hasn’t spread beyond nearby lymph nodes) (8).


Breast cancer in the UK and England over time [data from 2018]

Breast cancer in UK women has:

  • increased by 24% between 1993 and 2018 (9).
  • increased by 5% between 2006 and 2018 (9).

Breast cancer in UK men has:

  • increased by 38% between 1993 and 2018 in the 65-69 age group (9).
  • remained stable between 1993 and 2018 in all other age groups (9).


Estimated 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 (10).


Breast cancer mortality

In the UK [average per year, based on 2017-2019 data, unless stated otherwise]

  • Breast cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer death and the 2nd most common cause of cancer death in women (11).
  • Around 11,400 women and 85 men die from breast cancer every year. This is equivalent to 32 deaths every day (11).
  • 48% of deaths from breast cancer are in those aged 75 and over (11).
  • Since the mid-1970s, breast cancer mortality rates have decreased by 41% (11).
  • In 2022, breast cancer was the most common cause of death for both women between 35-49 and 50-64 years of age (12).
  • Breast cancer mortality rates have been declining and are projected to fall by 13% between 2023 and 2040 (11).


Breast cancer survival

In *England (based on women diagnosed between 2013-2017 and followed up in 2018):

  • 95.8% of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive at least 1 year (13).
  • 85.0% of women diagnosed with breast cancer survive at least 5 years (13).
  • 75.9% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are predicted to survive for 10 or more years (13).

*Please note: survival rates don’t vary significantly between the different UK nations.


Impact of Covid-19 on those affected by breast cancer in the UK

  • There was a 44% decrease in the number of women (45 and over) who were screened for breast cancer in 2020-2021 (1.19 million), compared to 2019-2020 (2.12 million) (14).
  • The number of women (45 and over) with breast cancers detected from mammography screening decreased from 17,771 in 2019-2020 to 10,813 in 2020-2021, a decrease of 6957 cases (39.2%) (14).


Genetics and family history

  • Around 15% of people with breast cancer will have a family history of the disease (15).
  • Inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for about 4-6% of all breast cancer cases (15).
  • In the general population, around 1 in 400 people carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have a 1 in 40 chance of carrying a BRCA mutation (16).


Breast cancer prevention

  • Breast Cancer UK estimates that at least 30% of breast cancer cases in the UK can be prevented by making lifestyle changes.
  • This is equivalent to around 17,000 breast cancer cases each year.
  • For more information about breast cancer prevention see our Prevention Hub.


Last Review: May 2024

Next Review: May 2025

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