Breast Cancer Statistics: Incidence, Survival Rate & More

What is breast cancer? 

Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the breast tissue and occurs when abnormal cells in the breast grow in an uncontrolled way. Breast cancer can develop at any age, however it is more common in people aged 45 or over. It is most prevalent in women but also affects a small number of men each year.

Breasts are made up of lobules and ducts surrounded by fatty and connective tissue. Lobules produce breast milk and ducts carry milk to the nipple from the lobules to the nipples, and fatty and connective tissue.

Most cases of breast cancer begin in the cells that line the ducts, while others can begin in the cells that line the lobules. When cancer is confined to either the ducts or lobules, it is classed as non-invasive. If it spreads, it is referred to as invasive breast cancer.

How common is breast cancer? 

Breast cancer is increasing in both men and women. It is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in females. In 2022, it is estimated that breast cancer will become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2022 among all people.

In 2017, there were 17,725 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Australia (137 males and 17,589 females). It is estimated that more than 20,030 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Australia in 2022 (164 males and 19,866 females). 

Breast cancer statistics in women 

The estimated number of new cases of breast cancer in females diagnosed yearly is 19,866. The risk of being diagnosed for females by the age of 85 is 1 in 8 (13%). The estimated number of deaths yearly in females is 3,102, however the chance of surviving past five years is 92%. 

It is estimated that the age-standardised incidence rate will increase to 68 cases per 100,000 persons (130 for females). The incidence rate for breast cancer is expected to increase with age for both males and females, peaking at the age group of 70–74 years for females.

Breast cancer statistics in men 

Whilst breast cancer predominantly occurs in women, it can also affect men. The estimated number of new cases of breast cancer in males diagnosed yearly is 164. The risk of diagnosis in males is 1 in every 829 or 0.12%, and the number of deaths yearly in males with breast cancer is 36. 

Help change the statistics by supporting breast cancer research 

ACRF is committed to backing the brilliant ideas needed to find new ways to prevent, detect and treat all types of cancer, so that we can reach our vision of a world without this devastating disease.

ACRF awarded a $2.5 million grant in 2016 to help establish the ACRF Tumour Metabolism Laboratory at Centenary Institute. The state-of-the-art equipment funded by ACRF will provide critical information to aid the development of new cancer diagnostics and therapies. The research has focused on the role of nutrient metabolism particularly in triple-negative breast tumours, as well as endometrial, and brain tumours. These cancers are among the most difficult to treat of all cancers.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form of cancer that accounts for 10-15% of all breast cancer cases. TNBC lacks a targeted therapy, has an increased rate of recurrence, and a lower 5-year survival rate compared to other breast cancer subtypes.

By donating to ACRF, you are helping to provide scientists with the tools, technology and infrastructure they need to accelerate cancer research. Click here to see donation options or make a donation today.