The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to ending breast cancer through action and advocacy. The following are a few statistics that speak to the need to end this deadly disease. You can also download a PDF of the 2021 Facts & Figures here.
In 2020 there were 684,996 deaths from breast cancer globally. (WHO, 2021).
In 2021, it is estimated that 43,600 women and 530 men will die of breast cancer. (ACS, 2021).
Excluding basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the U.S. In 2021, there will be an estimated 281,550* new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women; 2,650* cases diagnosed in men and an additional 49,290 cases of ductal carcinoma in situ DCIS diagnosis in women. (ACS, 2021)
In the United States, a woman’s lifetime risk of being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer has increased since 1975. (ACS, 2021;
DeSantis et al., 2021)
2021: 1 in 8 (12.8%)
1975: 1 in 11 (9.09%)
Incidence By Age
Older women are much more likely to get invasive breast cancer than younger women. From 2012-2016, the median age of a breast cancer diagnosis was 62 years of age. (ACS, 2021)
*These statistics do not account for the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
**Annual incidence counts of lobular carcinoma in situ are no longer measured following its removal from the 2017 edition of the AJCC breast cancer staging system.
Progress in breast cancer mortality reduction has slowed in recent years. The mortality rate was decreasing by about 1.9% annually between 1998 and 2013. Annual declines have slowed to 1.0% between 2013 and 2018. (ACS, 2021)
While the breast cancer mortality rate has declined the number of women and men who die each year is rising and will continue to rise as the aging population grows.
Mortality By Age
From 2014-2018, the median age at death from breast cancer was 69 years of age. (NCI, 2021)
Despite a similar incidence, mortality from breast cancer among black women is 40% higher compared with white women. (ACS, 2021)
An estimated 20% to 30% of women diagnosed, treated, and declared free of disease for local or regional invasive breast cancer will have a recurrence. (Saphner et al.,1996; Harris et al., 2000; Colleoni et al., 2016)
As of 2019, there were an estimated 3.8 million individuals living with a history of breast cancer in the United States. (DeSantis et al., 2019)
The number of women living with metastatic breast cancer in the United States: In 2017—155,000 By 2021—168,292 (Mariotto et al., 2017)
All women are at risk for breast cancer. Only 5-10% of women (5-20% of males) with breast cancer have inherited a mutation in a known breast cancer gene (e.g., BRCA1 and BRCA2). The majority of breast cancer cases do not involve these inherited mutations. (ACS, 2019)
Factors that increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer include:
The diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) was rare before 1980. Widespread adoption of screening mammography has led to an 800% increase in the incidence of DCIS. However, screening has not resulted in a decrease in the rate of lethal disease (i.e., stage IV, metastatic disease) at diagnosis.
Overdiagnosis of breast cancer (i.e., cancer that would never become a problem) is estimated to occur in 22-31% of all screen-detected breast cancers. (Bleyer and Welch, 2012)
The current methods of treatment in use in the U.S. are: