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Understanding breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting Australian women. In 2018, it is estimated that 18,087 women and 148 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.[i]

This means that approximately 18,235 Australians will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018,[ii] an average of 50 people every day. 

It is important to remember that most people survive breast cancer. The latest statistics show that the five-year relative survival rate for people diagnosed with breast cancer between 2009 and 2013 was 90.1%.[iii]. Of course, many people live long and healthy lives well beyond this period.

A snapshot of breast cancer in Australia

  • The number of people being diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia is increasing; however the number of deaths from breast cancer is decreasing.
  • The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age.
  • The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer by age 85 is 1 in 8 for women and 1 in 631 for men.[iv]
  • The average age of first diagnosis of breast cancer is 61 years.[v]
  • 79% of new cases of breast cancer in women develop over the age of 50.[vi]
  • The chance of surviving at least five years (five year relative survival) has increased from 72% in 1982-1987[vii] to 90.1% in 2009-2013.[viii]

 ·        You can also view these statistics as an infographic (PDF).

The graph below shows the estimated incidence of breast cancer by age for Australian women in 2017.[ix]

 

breast-cancer-incidence-2017

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no.101. Cat. no. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.

For more information download BCNA’s current breast cancer statistics in Australia – 2018.

More information

References

[i] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no.101. Cat. no. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017: Supplementary tables. Chapter 3: Incidence of Cancer, Canberra: AIHW.

[vii] Cancer Australia. 2017. Breast cancer statistics. Accessed 23 January 2018. https://breast-cancer.canceraustralia.gov.au/statistics.

[viii] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no.101. Cat. no. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.

[ix] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017: Supplementary tables. Chapter 3: Incidence of Cancer, Canberra: AIHW.