Breast Cancer Facts
What is the incidence and survival rate for breast cancer in Australia today?
- Cancer Australia estimates 19,535 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually in Australia and today 1 in 7 women have a lifetime risk of breast cancer.
- The survival rate for early stage breast cancer is 99% and overall long-term survival rate (10 years or more) is 83% today.
- Today, with better screening and improved treatments, survival rates continue to increase and breast cancer deaths have decreased significantly (from 17 per 100,000 in 1968 to 11 in 100,000 in 2014).
- Seventy percent of breast cancers occur in women aged 40–69 years with the average age at diagnosis, 62 years.
- Breast cancer is relatively less common in women under 40, with this age group accounting for less than 7% of all breast cancers. Nevertheless younger women need to be very aware of self-breast examination as breast cancer in younger women, when it does occur, is often more aggressive. Triple negative breast cancer, for instance, which is often more difficult to treat than other breast cancers, tends to occur more in younger women.
- Unlike some cancers, where late-stage survival has not changed in decades, the outlook is constantly improving for women living with “Mets” (metastatic breast cancer). Studies show survival rates for advanced breast cancer have doubled since the 1990s.
- This is expected to grow exponentially in the coming decade with researchers creating entirely new paradigms in the way we treat breast cancer – firstly with immunotherapy in recent years, and now with other targeted therapies.