Breast Cancer Occurrence, Diagnosis & Mortality Statistics

African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer, above non-Hispanic white women, Hispanic/Latina, American Indian/Alaska native, and Asian-American/Pacific Islander groups.

With so much information and studies available on breast cancer, it can be a bit overwhelming to get a grasp on how breast cancer is really effecting us as a nation. Here is a run-down of the most recent trends and statistics on the diagnosis of breast cancer based on gender, age and race/ethnicity, as well as survivability figures.

Breast Cancer vs. Other Diseases & Conditions

  • Breast cancer is second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer deaths.
  • Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.
  • 1 in 3 cancers diagnosed in U.S. women is breast cancer.

Historical Trends in Breast Cancer Occurrence & Mortality

  • Between 1980 and 1987, there was a rapid increase in breast cancer incidence, most likely as a result of increased mammogram rates.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates stabilized in the 1990′s, and then slowly increased in the late 1990′s, most likely as a result of further increases in mammograms, increased obesity rates, and increased use of menopausal hormone therapy.
  • Between 2002 and 2003, breast cancer incidence rates dropped sharply (7%), likely as a result of decreased used of menopausal hormone therapy as well as a decreasing mammogram rate.
  • Since 2003, breast cancer rates have remained relatively stable.
  • 5-year survival rates for breast cancer have steadily increased since 1975.
  • Breast cancer rates for women under 50 have remained stable since 1985.
  • Breast cancer rates for women over 50 have remained stable since 2003, which a peak of diagnosis rates in the late 1990′s.
  • Starting in the 1980′s, mortality rate of African-American women from breast cancer began to diverge from non-Hispanic white women. By 2007, African-American women had a 41% higher mortality than non-Hispanic white women.
  • Death rates for men with breast cancer have declined 3.3% per year since 2000.
  • 1975-2008, breast cancer incidence rate in men increased 0.8% annually.

Breast Cancer Occurence By Gender

  • Women—An estimated 230,480 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and an estimated  39,520 women will die in 2011.
  • Men—An estimated 2,150 will be diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 450 men will die in 2011.
  • An estimated 1% of all diagnosed cases will occur in men in 2011.

Breast Cancer Occurrence By Age

  • Women under 40—An estimated 11,300 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and an estimated 1,160 women will die in 2011.
  • Women under 50—An estimated 50,430 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and an estimated 5,240 women will die in 2011.
  • Women 50-64—An estimated 81,970 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and an estimated 11,620 women will die in 2011.
  • Women 65 and older—An estimated 98,080 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and an estimated 22,660 women will die in 2011.
  • 95% of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women over 40 years old.
  • 97% of breast cancer deaths occur in women over 40 years old.
  • During 2004-2008, women aged 20-24 had a breast cancer incidence rate of 1.5 cases per 100,000 women.
  • During 2004-2008, women aged 75-79 had the highest incidence rate of breast cancer diagnosis.
  • During 2004-2008, the median age for female breast cancer diagnosis was 61 years old.
  • 50% of women diagnosed with breast cancer were 61 years or younger, between 2004 and 2008.
  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.

Breast Cancer Occurrence By Race/Ethnicity

  • Non-Hispanic white women in the U.S. have an incidence rate of 125.4 cases per 100,000, the highest of all races and ethnicities, and a mortality rate of 23.9 per 100,000, the second highest of all races and ethnicities.
  • African-American women in the U.S. have an incidence rate of 116.1 cases per 100,000, the second highest of all races and ethnicities, and a mortality rate of 32.4 per 100,000, the highest of all races and ethnicities.
  • Hispanic/Latina women in the U.S. have an incidence rate of 91.1 cases per 100,000, and a mortality rate of 15.3 per 100,000.
  • American Indian/Alaska native women in the U.S. have an incidence rate of 89.2 cases per 100,000, and a mortality rate of 17.6 per 100,000.
  • Asian-American/Pacific Islander women in the U.S. have an incidence rate of 84.9 cases per 100,000, and a mortality rate of 12.2 per 100,000, both rates the lowest of all ethnic and racial groups.
  • Before the age 40, African-American women have a higher incidence of breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women.
  • African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer, above non-Hispanic white women, Hispanic/Latina, American Indian/Alaska native, and Asian-American/Pacific Islander groups.
  • Incidence rate in men is higher for African-American men than other races and ethnicities.

Breast Cancer Survivability & Mortality Statistics

  • Women with breast cancer have a 99% 5-year survival rate if it is localized, 84% if it is regional, and 23% if it is distant-stage.
  • Larger tumors reduce 5-year survival rate.
  • The 5-year survival rate for African-American women is 77% and 90% for white women.
  • African-American women have the greatest chance of all ethnicities to die of breast cancer. This is likely as a result of the more aggressive tumors common in African-American women, higher rate of proverty, and later stage of detection.
  • Obese women diagnosed with breast cancer have a 30% higher mortality rate than breast cancer patients that maintain a healthy weight.
  • Women diagnosed with breast cancer that is not estrogen responsive (ER+) or progesterone responsive (PR+) have a 1.5-2 times higher rate of mortality.
  • Women from lower income areas have a lower 5-year survival rate than women from higher income areas.

Don’t Become A Statistic

Reduce your chances of being diagnosed by educating yourself on the risk factors of breast cancer and taking action on the factors you have control of like smoking and obesity. Later stage detection and advanced tumor size decrease your odds of surviving breast cancer. Improve your odds of survival by practicing early detection. Do a monthly breast self-exam, a yearly clinical breast exam, and after 40 a yearly mammogram. Empower yourself and improve your odds.

(Source: “Breast Cancer Facts & Figures: 2011-2012,” American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org)