Breast Cancer Support

Cases

55,000
Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women in the UK

Deaths

12,000
Nearly 12,000 people die from breast cancer in the UK every year

Survival

85%
More than eight out of 10 (85%) people survive breast cancer beyond five years.

Prevention

25%
Preventable cases of breast cancer, UK
About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, and the number of cases is increasing in nearly every region and in every country. The number of new breast cancer cases has more than doubled around the world in the last three decades, with the highest increases throughout North Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Western sub-Saharan Africa and Central Latin America. Breast cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death in low-resource countries around the world, with over 500,000 deaths in 2012. These trends are concerning, which is why Breast Cancer Support works tirelessly to provide support to patients worldwide.

Breast cancer also is the most common cancer in the UK. Both women and men get breast cancer. Although it is much rarer than in women, men can get breast cancer too. Every year about 400 men are diagnosed in the UK.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to divide and grow in an abnormal way.

Breast cancer is not one single disease – there are several types of breast cancer. It can be diagnosed at different stages and can grow at different rates. This means that people can have different treatments, depending on what will work best for them.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Around 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Of these about 400 are men.

The biggest risk factors for developing breast cancer are getting older, being female and, for a few, having a significant family history of the disease.

Just over 80% of breast cancers occur in women who are over the age of 50. Nearly half of all cases are diagnosed in people in the 50-69 age group.

Earlier detection, increased knowledge and understanding of the biology of breast cancer and better treatments mean that survival rates after a diagnosis of breast cancer are improving. More than 8 out of 10 people survive breast cancer beyond five years. More than three quarters of people survive it beyond 10 years. It’s thought that around 570,000 people are alive in the UK who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Facts about breast cancer

The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8 in women

This means that 1 in 8 women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime – it also means that 7 out of 8 women won’t develop breast cancer.

Estimated risk of developing breast cancer according to age

  • Risk up to age 29, 1 in 2,000.
  • Risk up to age 39, 1 in 215.
  • Risk up to age 49, 1 in 50.
  • Risk up to age 59, 1 in 22.
  • Risk up to age 69, 1 in 13.
  • Lifetime risk, 1 in 8.

Older people are more likely to get breast cancer than younger people

After gender (being female), age is the strongest risk factor for developing breast cancer – the older the person, the higher the risk. Around 81% of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50.

Breast cancer is the name given to cancers that have first developed in breast tissue. There are many different types.

Thanks to research, more people are surviving breast cancer than ever before. More than 80% of women with breast cancer are still alive five years after diagnosis but around 50,000 women are still diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Around 12,000 women die of the disease each year.