Breast Cancer Statistics

Survival Rates

Survival rates can be calculated by different methods for different purposes. The breast cancer survival rates presented here are based on the relative survival rate. The relative survival rate measures the survival of cancer patients in comparison to the general population to estimate the effect of cancer. The overall 5-year relative breast cancer survival rate for 1995-2002 was 88.5 percent. The 5-year relative breast cancer survival rates by race and sex were:
 
  • 89.7 percent for white women
  • 77.3 percent for black women.

 

Stage Impact

The breast cancer stage plays a role in the breast cancer prognosis. Based on historical data:
 
  • 61 percent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed while the cancer is still confined to the primary site (localized stage).
     
  • 31 percent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes or directly beyond the primary site.
     
  • 6 percent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed after the cancer has already metastasized (distant stage).
     
  • 2 percent of breast cancer cases had staging information that was unknown.
     
The corresponding 5-year relative survival rates were:
 
  • 98.1 percent for localized
  • 83.1 percent for regional
  • 26.0 percent for distant
  • 54.1 percent for unstaged.
     

Breast Cancer Statistics: Lifetime Probability of Breast Cancer

The National Cancer Institute estimates that, based on current rates, 13.2 percent of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives. This estimate is based on cancer statistics for the years 2000 through 2002. This estimate means that, if the current rate stays the same, women born now have an average risk of 13.2 percent (often expressed as "1 in 8") of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives. On the other hand, the chance that they will never have breast cancer is 86.8 percent (expressed as "7 in 8").
 
In the 1970s, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States was just under 10 percent (often expressed as "1 in 10"). The estimated lifetime risk has generally been rising gradually since then.
 
Because rates of breast cancer increase with age, estimates of risk at specific ages are more meaningful than estimates of lifetime risk.
 
An estimated risk represents the average risk for all women in the United States as a group. This estimate does not indicate the risk for an individual woman because of individual differences in age, family history, reproductive history, race/ethnicity, and other factors.
 
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