SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Female Breast Cancer

Lifetime risk estimates are not available with the current statistics release, but will be added later when population data for older age groups are available.

Statistics at a GlanceShow More

At a Glance

  • Estimated New Cases in 2016 246,660
  • % of All New Cancer Cases14.6%
  • Estimated Deaths in 2016 40,450
  • % of All
    Cancer Deaths
    6.8%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

89.7% 2006-2012

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of female breast cancer was 125.0 per 100,000 women per year. The number of deaths was 21.5 per 100,000 women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2009-2013 cases and deaths.

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

Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2013, there were an estimated 3,053,450 women living with female breast cancer in the United States.

Survival StatisticsShow More

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

Relative survival 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.

89.7%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

89.7%

Based on data from SEER 18 2006-2012. Gray figures represent those who have died from female 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 female breast cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For female breast cancer, 61.4% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for localized female breast cancer is 98.8%.

Percent of Cases & 5-Year Relative Survival by Stage at Diagnosis: Female Breast Cancer
Percent of Cases by Stage
  • Localized (61%)
    Confined to Primary Site
  • Regional (31%)
    Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
  • Distant (6%)
    Cancer Has Metastasized
  • Unknown (2%)
    Unstaged
61% localized; 31% regional; 6% distant; 2% unknown
5-Year Relative Survival
98.8% localized; 85.2% regional; 26.3% distant; 52.5% unstaged

SEER 18 2006-2012, 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, female breast cancer is fairly common.

Common Types of Cancer Estimated New
Cases 2016
Estimated
Deaths 2016
1. Breast Cancer (Female) 246,660 40,450
2. Lung and Bronchus Cancer 224,390 158,080
3. Prostate Cancer 180,890 26,120
4. Colon and Rectum Cancer 134,490 49,190
5. Bladder Cancer 76,960 16,390
6. Melanoma of the Skin 76,380 10,130
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 72,580 20,150
8. Thyroid Cancer 64,300 1,980
9. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 62,700 14,240
10. Leukemia 60,140 24,400

Female breast cancer represents 14.6% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

14.6%

In 2016, it is estimated that there will be 246,660 new cases of female breast cancer and an estimated 40,450 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 female breast cancer was 125.0 per 100,000 women per year based on 2009-2013 cases.

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Female Breast Cancer
0.0% under 20; 1.8% 20-34; 8.9% 35-44; 21.3% 45-54; 25.7% 55-64; 22.6% 65-74; 14.0% 75-84; 5.7% 85 and older

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

Median Age
At Diagnosis

62

SEER 18 2009-2013, All Races, Females

Number of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity: Female Breast Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Sex-Specific CancerAll RacesFemale 125.0
  • WhiteFemale 128.0
  • BlackFemale 125.2
  • Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 97.3
  • American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 81.2
  • HispanicFemale 92.4
  • Non-HispanicFemale 130.4

SEER 18 2009-2013, 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. Female breast cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The number of deaths was 21.5 per 100,000 women per year based on 2009-2013.

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Female Breast Cancer
0.0% under 20; 0.9% 20-34; 5.0% 35-44; 14.0% 45-54; 22.0% 55-64; 21.4% 65-74; 20.1% 75-84; 16.6% 85 and older

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

Median Age
At Death

68

U.S. 2009-2013, All Races, Females

Number of Deaths per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity: Female Breast Cancer
MalesFemales
  • Sex-Specific CancerAll RacesFemale 21.5
  • WhiteFemale 21.0
  • BlackFemale 29.6
  • Asian /
    Pacific Islander
    Female 11.2
  • American Indian /
    Alaska Native
    Female 14.7
  • HispanicFemale 14.5
  • Non-HispanicFemale 22.2

U.S. 2009-2013, 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 female breast cancer cases have been stable over the last 10 years. Death rates have been falling on average 1.9% each year over 2004-2013. 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, Miller D, Bishop K, 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, 1975-2013, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2013/, based on November 2015 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2016.

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: Female 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 Profiles.

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.