Breast Cancer - Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2016

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

More women are diagnosed with breast cancer than any other cancer. This year, an estimated 246, 660 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 61,000 women will be diagnosed with in situ breast cancer. An estimated 2,600 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

 It is estimated that 40,890 people (40,450 women and 440 men) will die from breast cancer this year.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The average 5-year survival rate for people with breast cancer is 89%. The 10-year rate is 83%, and the 15-year rate is 78%.

If the cancer is located only in the breast, the 5-year relative survival rate of people with breast cancer is 99%. Sixty-one percent (61%) of cases are diagnosed at this stage. If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 85%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 26%.

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 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 thanks to early detection and treatment improvements. In women younger than 50, there has been a decrease of 3.2% per year from 2007 to 2011 in white women and a decrease of 2.4% per year in black women. In women age 50 and older, the decrease has been 1.8% per year for white women and 1.1% per year for black women. Currently, there are about 3 million women living with breast cancer in the United States with breast cancer.

It is important to remember that statistics on how many people survive this type of cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from data based on thousands of people with this cancer in the United States each year. So, your own risk may be different. Doctors cannot say for sure how long anyone will live with breast cancer. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means that the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2016, and the National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.