Breast Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many people are diagnosed with breast cancer?

Worldwide, female breast cancer has now surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer. An estimated 2,261,419 new cases of breast cancer 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.

In 2023, an estimated 297,790 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 55,720 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. This is likely caused by an increase in excess body weight in women overall, as well as a drop in fertility rates and rising age for first births. An estimated 2,800 men in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2023.

Currently, there are more than 3.8 million women who are living with or beyond breast cancer in the United States.

It is estimated that 43,700 deaths (43,170 women and 530 men) from breast cancer will occur in the United States in 2023. 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.

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 43% since 2020 following a peak in 1989. This is thanks to early detection, treatment improvements, and greater breast cancer awareness. As a result, more than 460,000 breast cancer deaths were prevented during that period. Although Black women are diagnosed less often with breast cancer than White women, they have a 40% higher death rate from the disease.

Breast cancer typically is diagnosed in middle-aged and older women. The median age of diagnosis is 63. Although it is not common, some women diagnosed with the disease are under age 45. Black women are more likely to develop breast cancer before the age of 40 compared to White women.

What is the survival rate for breast cancer?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from breast cancer. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with breast cancer are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with breast cancer are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

The 5-year relative survival rate for women in the United States with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 91%. The 10-year relative survival rate for women with non-metastatic invasive breast cancer is 85%.

The survival rates for breast cancer vary based on several factors. These include the stage of cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.

If the invasive breast cancer is located only in the breast, the 5-year relative survival rate of women with this disease is 99%. About 66% of women with breast cancer are diagnosed at 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). Black women are also less likely to be diagnosed at an early stage (57% of cases in this group) compared to White women (68% of cases in this group).

If the cancer has spread to the regional lymph nodes, the 5-year relative survival rate is 86%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body, the 5-year relative survival rate is 30%. The relative survival rate for breast cancer is 9% 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.

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for breast cancer 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 2023 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 February 2023.)

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.