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Breast Cancer Stats

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Breast Cancer stats in Australia

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. Approximately 57 Australians are diagnosed each and every day. That equates to over 20,000 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

1 in 716 men are diagnosed in their lifetime.

In 2020, over 3000 Australians passed away from breast cancer including 33 males and 2997 females.

That’s 8 females a day dying from the disease.

In the last 10 years, breast cancer diagnosis have increased by 38%.

Since the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) started funding in 1994, the five-year survival rates have improved from 76% to 91%.

We’ve come a long way. But there’s still progress to be made.

That’s why we’re committed to funding a broad spectrum of research to help understand risk factors, develop new ways to detect and treat breast cancer, improve quality of life for breast cancer patients, improve treatment outcomes and ultimately – save lives.

Our mission: Zero Deaths from breast cancer by 2030.

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Risk of breast cancer across different ages

Cancer data in Australia.

The risk of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime is  1 in 7. The majority of breast cancer cases, about 80%, occur in women over the age of 50.

But breast cancer still occurs in young women, with close to 1000 women under the age of 40 projected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2020.

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Breast cancer survival rates, by stage and age

The relative 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is 91%. This means that those who have breast cancer are, on average, 91% as likely as those who don’t have the disease to live for at least 5 years after their diagnosis. The survival rate is an estimate across the population, and an individual’s chance of survival is dependent on their specific characteristics and the nature of the tumour, such as the stage of the breast cancer at diagnosis, the age, gender and the subtype of the breast cancer (ER+, HER2+ or triple negative breast cancer).

The 5-year survival rate for Stage 1 (early) breast cancer is, on average, 100% and Stage 2 is 95%. For locally advanced cancers (known as Stage 3) the survival rate is 81%, while the 5-year survival rate for Stage 4 (metastatic breast cancer) is significantly lower at 32%.

The 5-year survival rate also differs depending on the age group. For those aged over 85, the 5-year survival rate is 75%, while for those between 40 and 44 years of age it is 93%.

While the 5-year survival rate post-diagnosis is 91%, the survival rate 10 years after diagnosis of breast cancer is 86%.

Source: AIHW Australian Cancer Database  

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Breast cancer diagnosis and survival rates over the last 27 years

The incidence of breast cancer (the number of new cases) has risen dramatically over the last 27 years, rising from about 9,827 new cases a year in 1994, to 20,825 new cases a year in 2021. As a result, 1 in 7 women will now be diagnosed in their lifetime.

From NBCF’s inception in 1994, five-year relative survival for breast cancer improved from 76% to 91%. This improvement is a result of research. But despite the improved survival rate, this year around 8 Australian women will lose their lives to breast cancer every day. In 2020, there was an estimated 3,031 deaths from breast cancer, including 33 males and 2,997 females.

Unfortunately, despite improved survival rates, the number of deaths from breast cancer each year is still rising. This is being driven by the increase in diagnoses.

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Breast cancer cases in comparison to other commonly diagnosed cancers

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with over 20, 000 diagnoses this year. This is followed by prostate cancer and melanoma of the skin.

In 2021, breast cancer remains the second most common cause of death from cancer in females.

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People living with breast cancer

It is projected that today over 200, 000 Australian women are living after a diagnosis of breast cancer.