NEWS: New figures suggest a small drop in breast cancer rates | Breast Cancer UK

NEWS: New figures suggest a small drop in breast cancer rates

Published 7 Mar 2017

New figures released by the Office of National Statistics (1) show a small drop in the number of breast cancer cases reported in England.   In 2015 there were 334 fewer cases of breast cancer diagnosed than in 2014, (a drop of 0.7%) (2).

Age standardised rates (ie rates that have been adjusted to account for different ages in a population) are also slightly down on the previous year in both men and women (3).   

Overall, age standardised breast cancer rates in women have:

  • fallen by 1.8% over one year (between 2014 -2015)
  • risen by 3.1% over the last five years (2010-2015)
  • risen by 4.0% over the last ten years (2005-2015)

Breast Cancer UK cautiously welcome the news that fewer men and women have been diagnosed this year but warn that greater focus and attention is needed to promote prevention and understanding of the risk factors for breast cancer, if incidence rates are to continue to fall.    In England, over 45000 women and 319 men were diagnosed with breast, 1 in 5 of those women diagnosed was under the age of 50.

Lynn Ladbrook, CEO of Breast Cancer UK said “we welcome any drop in breast cancer rates, however small, but sadly, 1 in 8 women are still predicted to get breast cancer at some point in their lives.   We will have to wait and see whether this small drop turns into a downward trend in the next few years.    However, although we can’t prevent all breast cancers, a greater awareness of the risk factors, healthier lifestyles together with actions to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals could help reduce incidence rates in the future.

Studies suggest that the vast majority of breast cancer are attributable to modern lifestyle and environmental risk factors – if we can address these, we can help to prevent breast cancer”.



1. Office for National Statistics (ONS) Cancer Registration Statistics England  (accessed 1st March 2017)

2. Registrations of newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in England:

3. Directly age-standardised rates per 100,000 population of newly diagnosed cases in England are recorded as follows:  

Breast Cancer UK tackles the environmental and chemical causes of breast cancer.   You can read more about our work at

For more information please contact Louise Bowers on 07930854527.

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