SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Breast Cancer

Statistics at a GlanceShow More

At a Glance

  • Estimated New Cases in 2015 231,840
  • % of All New Cancer Cases14.0%
  • Estimated Deaths in 2015 40,290
  • % of All
    Cancer Deaths
    6.8%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

89.4% 2005-2011

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of breast cancer was 124.8 per 100,000 women per year. The number of deaths was 21.9 per 100,000 women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2008-2012 cases and deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 12.3 percent of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2010-2012 data.

Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2012, there were an estimated 2,975,314 women living with breast cancer in the United States.

Survival StatisticsShow More

How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer?

Relative survivalExternal Web Site Policy statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.

89.4%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

89.4%

Based on data from SEER 18 2005-2011. Gray figures represent those who have died from breast cancer. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.

Additional Information

Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of a cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as stage 1). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant. The earlier breast cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For breast cancer, 61.1% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for localized breast cancer is 98.6%.

Percent of Cases & 5-Year Relative Survival by Stage at Diagnosis: Breast Cancer
Percent of Cases by Stage
  • Localized (61%)
    Confined to Primary Site
  • Regional (32%)
    Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
  • Distant (6%)
    Cancer Has Metastasized
  • Unknown (2%)
    Unstaged
61% localized; 32% regional; 6% distant; 2% unknown
5-Year Relative Survival
98.6% localized; 84.9% regional; 25.9% distant; 51.7% unstaged

SEER 18 2005-2011, All Races, Females by SEER Summary Stage 2000

Additional Information

Number of New Cases and DeathsShow More

How Common Is This Cancer?

Compared to other cancers, breast cancer is fairly common.

Common Types of Cancer Estimated New
Cases 2015
Estimated
Deaths 2015
1. Breast Cancer (Female) 231,840 40,290
2. Lung and Bronchus Cancer 221,200 158,040
3. Prostate Cancer 220,800 27,540
4. Colon and Rectum Cancer 132,700 49,700
5. Bladder Cancer 74,000 16,000
6. Melanoma of the Skin 73,870 9,940
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 71,850 19,790
8. Thyroid Cancer 62,450 1,950
9. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 61,560 14,080
10. Endometrial Cancer 54,870 10,170

Breast cancer represents 14.0% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

14.0%

In 2015, it is estimated that there will be 231,840 new cases of breast cancer and an estimated 40,290 people will die of this disease.

Female breast cancer is most common in middle-aged and older women. Although rare, men can develop breast cancer as well. The number of new cases of breast cancer was 124.8 per 100,000 women per year based on 2008-2012 cases.

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Breast Cancer
0.0% under 20; 1.8% 20-34; 9.1% 35-44; 21.6% 45-54; 25.6% 55-64; 21.9% 65-74; 14.2% 75-84; 5.7% 85 and older

Breast cancer is most frequently diagnosed among women aged 55-64.

Median Age
At Diagnosis

61

SEER 18 2008-2012, All Races, Females

Number of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity: Breast Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Sex-Specific CancerAll RacesFemale 124.8
  • WhiteFemale 127.9
  • BlackFemale 124.4
  • Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 96.3
  • American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 82.0
  • HispanicFemale 92.1
  • Non-HispanicFemale 130.1

SEER 18 2008-2012, Age-Adjusted

Overall, female breast cancer survival is good. However, women who are diagnosed at an advanced age may be more likely than younger women to die of the disease. Breast cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The number of deaths was 21.9 per 100,000 women per year based on 2008-2012.

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Breast Cancer
0.0% under 20; 0.9% 20-34; 5.1% 35-44; 14.3% 45-54; 21.9% 55-64; 21.0% 65-74; 20.5% 75-84; 16.4% 85 and older

The percent of breast cancer deaths is highest among women aged 55-64.

Median Age
At Death

68

U.S. 2008-2012, All Races, Females

Number of Deaths per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity: Breast Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Sex-Specific CancerAll RacesFemale 21.9
  • WhiteFemale 21.3
  • BlackFemale 30.2
  • Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 11.4
  • American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 15.0
  • HispanicFemale 14.5
  • Non-HispanicFemale 22.6

U.S. 2008-2012, Age-Adjusted

Trends in RatesShow More

Changes Over Time

Keeping track of the number of new cases, deaths, and survival over time (trends) can help scientists understand whether progress is being made and where additional research is needed to address challenges, such as improving screening or finding better treatments.

Using statistical models for analysis, rates for new breast cancer cases have been stable over the last 10 years. Death rates have not changed significantly over 2002-2012. 5-year survival trends are shown below the figure.

More About This CancerShow More

Cancer and the Female Breast

The female breast along with lymph nodes and vessels. An inset shows a close-up view of the breast with the following parts labeled: lobules, lobe, ducts, nipple, areola, and fat.
Figure: Breast and Adjacent Lymph Nodes
Click to enlarge.

Inside a woman's breast are 15 to 20 sections, or lobes. Each lobe is made of many smaller sections called lobules. Fibrous tissue and fat fill the spaces between the lobules and ducts (thin tubes that connect the lobes and nipples). Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast grow out of control and form a growth or tumor. Tumors may be cancerous (malignant) or not cancerous (benign).

Additional Information

More Information

Here are some resources for learning more about female breast cancer.

References

All statistics in this report are based on statistics from SEER and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Garshell J, Miller D, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z,Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2012, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2012/, based on November 2014 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2015.

Suggested Citation

All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.

SEER Cancer Statistics Factsheets: Breast Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html

This factsheet focuses on population statistics that are based on the US population. Because these statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. To see tailored statistics, browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. To see statistics for a specific state, go to the State Cancer ProfilesExternal Web Site Policy.

The statistics presented in this factsheet are based on the most recent data available, most of which can be found in the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In some cases, different year spans may be used. Estimates for the current year are based on past data.

Cancer is a complex topic. There is a wide range of information available. This factsheet does not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although it provides links to information in many of these areas.