Breast Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people develop this type of cancer each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on many factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This year, an estimated 232,670 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 62,570 women will be diagnosed with in situ breast cancer. An estimated 2,360 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is estimated that 40,430 people (40,000 women, 430 men) will die from breast cancer this year.

The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. If the cancer is located only in the breast, the five-year relative survival rate of people with breast cancer is 99%. If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate is 84%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the five-year survival rate is 24%. About 5% of women have metastatic cancer when they are first diagnosed with breast cancer. Even if the cancer is found at a more advanced stage, new treatments help many people with breast cancer maintain a good quality of life, at least for some period of time.

It is important to note that these statistics are averages, and each person’s risk depends on many factors, including the size of the tumor, the number of lymph nodes that contain cancer, and other features of the tumor that affect how quickly a tumor will grow and how well treatment works.

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women in the United States, after lung cancer. However, since 1989, the number of women who have died of breast cancer has steadily decreased. In women younger than 50, there has been a decrease of around 3% per year from 2006 to 2010. In women age 50 and older, the decrease has been 1.8% per year. Currently, there are more than 2.8 million women living in the United States who have been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with breast cancer. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2014, and the National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.

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