Breast Cancer Support
About Breast Cancer
What is breast cancer?
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
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.