Breast Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with 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 231,840 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 60,290 women will be diagnosed with in situ breast cancer. An estimated 2,350 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is estimated that 40,730 people (40,290 women, 440 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 found. 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 85%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the five-year survival rate is 25%. For all stages combined, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 89%, the 10-year rate is 83%, and the 15-year rate is 78%.

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 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 more than 2.8 million women living in the United States as breast cancer survivors, 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, so the actual risk for a particular individual may be different. 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 multi-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 2015, and the National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations and 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.