Breast Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

Worldwide, female breast cancer has now surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer. An estimated 2,261,419 new cases were diagnosed in women across the world in 2020.

More women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer than any other type of cancer, besides skin cancer. The disease accounts for 1 in 3 of new female cancers annually.

This year, an estimated 287,850 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 51,400 women will be diagnosed with non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. From the mid-2000s, invasive breast cancer in women has increased by approximately half a percent each year. An estimated 2,710 men in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year.

It is estimated that 43,780 deaths (43,250 women and 530 men) from breast cancer will occur in the United States this year. Worldwide, female breast cancer is the fifth leading cause of death. In 2020, an estimated 684,996 women across the world died from breast cancer.

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 women in the United States with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 90%. The average 10-year survival rate for women with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 84%.

If the invasive breast cancer is located only in the breast, the 5-year survival rate of women with this disease is 99%. Sixty-five percent (65%) of women with breast cancer are diagnosed with this stage. Adolescent and young adult females ages 15 to 39 in the United States are less likely to be diagnosed at an early stage of breast cancer (47% of cases in this age group) compared to women older than 65 (68% of cases in this age group). This may be because most breast cancer screening does not begin until age 40 unless a person is at a higher risk.

If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year survival rate is 86%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 29%. The survival rate for breast cancer is 10% lower in Black women compared to White women.

Six percent (6%) of women have cancer that has spread outside of the breast and regional lymph nodes at the time they are first diagnosed with breast cancer. This is called "de novo" metastatic 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 for some time. Learn more about metastatic breast cancer in a separate guide on this website.

It is important to note that these statistics are averages, and each person’s chance of recovery 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. This means that it can be difficult to estimate each individual's chance of survival.

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women in the United States after lung cancer. However, the number of women who have died of breast cancer has decreased by 42% from 1989 to 2019 thanks to early detection and treatment improvements. As a result, more than 431,800 breast cancer deaths were prevented during that period. Although Black women are diagnosed less often with breast cancer than White women, they have a 41% higher death rate from the disease.

Since 2007, the number of women aged 50 and over who have died of breast cancer has continued to decrease. The number of women under age 50 who have died of breast cancer has stayed steady. From 2013 to 2018, the death rate for women with cancer dropped by 1% each year.

Currently, there are more than 3.8 million women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with breast cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how breast cancer is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publications, Cancer Facts & Figures 2022 and Cancer Facts & Figures 2020; the ACS website; the International Agency for Research on Cancer website; and the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. (All sources accessed January 2022.)

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by breast cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.