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Understanding breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Australian women.

Australia has one of the best breast cancer survival rates in the world. The incidence rate of women and men being diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia is increasing; however the mortality rate from breast cancer is decreasing.

In 2022, it is predicted that 20,428 women and 212 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This means that approximately 20,640 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year - on average, 57 people every day.

A snapshot of breast cancer in Australia in 2022:

  • The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer over a lifetime is 1 in 7 for women and 1 in 555 for men.
  • It is estimated that breast cancer will account for approximately 28 per cent of all new cancers in Australian women.
  • The chance of surviving at least five years (five year relative survival) has increased from 77.3 per cent in 1989-1993 to 91.8 per cent in 2014-2018.
  • It is estimated that at the end of 2017, there were 242,083 women who were alive and had been diagnosed with breast cancer between 1982 and 2017.
  • Approximately 80 per cent of new cases of breast cancer are in women aged 50 or above.
  • It is estimated that 3178 women and 36 men will die from breast cancer.

The graph below shows the projected incidence of breast cancer by age for Australian women in 2022.

For more information download BCNA’s current breast cancer statistics in Australia.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer you can call BCNA's Helpline on 1800 500 258.

For up-to-date, reliable information tailored to your changing needs during your breast cancer experience, you can sign up to BCNA's My Journey. Whether you have been diagnosed with DCIS, early breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer, My Journey has information relevant to you. You can access this information through the My Journey app or online at


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2022. Cancer data in Australia. Cat. no. CAN 122. Canberra: AIHW. Accessed: July 2022.