Breast Cancer Facts & Statistics
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a type of abnormal cell growth that forms in the tissue of the breast with the potential to spread to other areas of the body. Breast cancer is one of the over 100 types of cancers.
How Common is Breast Cancer?
Women have a 12.83% (1 in 8) chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. Men have a 0.13% chance.(1) After heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death for women (2). Breast cancer is the number two type of cancer women die from.(3)
What is the Most Common Age of Breast Cancer Patients?
The risk for breast cancer increases as we age. Women under 40 account for only 7% of breast cancer cases. Women are most likely to be diagnosed in their 50s and 60s. (4)
What is the Survival Rate of Breast Cancer?
In the United States, female breast cancer as a whole, has a survival rate of 87%. Rates for individual patients vary based on quality of treatment, stage at detection, type of cancer, and a variety of other factors.
Are Some Ethnicities Affected More Than Others?
Yes. White women are more likely than any other ethnicity to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer. Asian/Pacific Islander women have the lowest incidence and mortality rates of all ethnicities.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors & Prevention
What Causes Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer has a variety of risk factors including aging, certain inherited genetic mutations, dense breasts, personal history of cancer, hormone levels, high-dose radiation to chest, family with breast cancer, alcohol consumption, Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, exposure to Diethylstilbestrol, early period, tall height, high socioeconomic status, late or no full-term pregnancies, late menopause, no breastfeeding, post-menopausal obesity, personal history of endometrium or ovarian cancer, hormone therapy usage, and oral birth control use.(4) Many of these risk factors are closely tied to estrogen levels.
Is Breast Cancer Hereditary?
It can be. Having a close family history with a history of breast cancer, having the inherited genetic mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2, or having Ashkenazi Jewish heritage can increase your risk for breast cancer.
How Can You Prevent Breast Cancer?
Studies have shown that limiting alcohol, engaging in regular physical activity, consuming more fruits and vegetables, avoiding smoking, and limiting night shift work may reduce your odds of breast cancer. Mastectomies (the removal of one or both the breasts) and the therapeutic use of the drugs raloxifene and tamoxifen can also help prevent breast cancer.
How Do I Detect Breast Cancer Early?
Do a monthly breast-self exam and an annual or biannual mammogram. Some women (and men!) get genetic testing if they have a high family risk of breast cancer.
- “Lifetime Risk of Developing or Dying From Cancer,” American Cancer Society
- “Leading Causes of Death – Females – All races and origins – United States, 2017,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- “Basic Information About Breast Cancer,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- “Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2017-2018,” American Cancer Society