Breast cancer: what you need to know
From the basic biology of the breast to knowing your risk and checking for symptoms, it’s important to be informed about breast cancer.
Being diagnosed early provides the best hope of treatment so Australian women and men can live longer, healthier lives.
A diagnosis of breast cancer is an understandably stressful and emotional time for everyone involved and there is a lot of new information to absorb. This section provides useful information on symptoms, detection and risk factors as an easy reference point for anyone thinking about breast cancer.
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in Australia.
- One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
- On average, eight women die from breast cancer every day in Australia.
- There are more than 65,000 people living with breast cancer in Australia today.
- In 2017, 17,586 women (an average of 48 women every day) are projected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia, although mortality is predicted to continuously decline.
- Australian women diagnosed with breast cancer have a 90% chance of surviving five years after diagnosis.
- Increasing age is one of the strongest risk factors for developing breast cancer.
- More than two in three cases of breast cancer occur in women aged between 40 and 69 years.
- Breast cancer spreading to other organs (metastasis) is the main cause of death from breast cancer. The survival rate of women that have metastatic breast cancer at first diagnosis is alarmingly low, with only one in four (a quarter) of women still alive 5 years after diagnosis.
- Improvements in survival are attributed to earlier detection of breast cancer through regular mammograms and improved treatment outcomes for breast cancer.
- Although rare, breast cancer can also affect men, accounting for about 1% of cases.