- In 2009, breast cancer was the most common cancer in Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer), accounting for 27.4 per cent of all new cancers in women.1
- In 2009, there were 13,668 new cases of breast cancer in women and 110 new cases in men.1
- In 2009, the average age of breast cancer diagnosis was 60.7 years.1
The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age:
- in 2009, 22.9 per cent of new breast cancer cases diagnosed were in women younger than 50 years; 51.4 per cent in women aged 50–69 years; and 25.8 per cent in women aged 70 years and over.2
- In 2009, the risk of developing breast cancer before the age of 85 in women was 1 in 8.1
The incidence of breast cancer in Australia is increasing:
- in 2009, the number of new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women increased to 13,668, from 5,317 in 1982.1,2
- in 2020, it is estimated that there will be 17,210 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women.3
- Between 1982 and 1995, the age-standardised incidence rate of breast cancer in women increased from 81.1 to 115.9 per 100,000 women. After this time the rate has remained fairly stable, with the rate in 2009 equalling 113.5 per 100,000 women.1,2
- In 2009, the number of men diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia increased to 110, from 61 in 1982.1,2
- In 2010, breast cancer was the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Australian women, accounting for 15.3 per cent of all cancer deaths in women.1
- In 2010, there were 2,864 deaths from breast cancer (2,840 women and 24 men).1
- Between 1994 and 2010, the age-standardised mortality rate for breast cancer in women decreased by 30 per cent (from 30.8 deaths per 100,000 women in 1994 to 21.6 deaths per 100,000 women in 2010).1,2
- For 2008, Australia's mortality rate for breast cancer in women, was estimated to be lower than the rates for Southern Africa, New Zealand, Western Africa, Northern Europe, Northern Africa, Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe.3
- Relative survival rates after diagnosis of breast cancer in women have increased in recent years. Between the periods 1982–1987 and 2006–2010, five-year relative survival increased from 72 per cent to 89.4 per cent in Australian women.3
- For 1997-2006, five-year relative survival for breast cancer was 98.2 per cent for women with 0–10 mm tumours, 94.7 per cent for women with 11–15 mm tumours, 93 per cent for women with 16–19 mm tumours, 87.9 per cent for women with 20–29 mm tumours, and 73.1 per cent for women with tumours 30 mm or greater.3
- At the end of 2008, it was estimated that there were 159,325 Australian women alive who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous 27 years, including 57,327 women diagnosed in the previous 5 years.3
Burden of disease
- Cancer is estimated to be the leading cause of the burden of disease in Australia.1
- In 2012, breast cancer was the leading cancer cause of the burden of disease in women in Australia, estimated to account for 61,400 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs**). Of these, 40,900 were years lost due to premature death and 20,500 were years of healthy life lost due to disease, disability or injury.1
**DALYs are years of healthy life lost, either through premature death or through living with disability due to illness or injury. This is the basis unit used in burden of disease or injury estimates.1
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Australasian Association of Cancer Registries 2012. Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2012. Cancer series no. 74. Cat. no. CAN 70. Canberra: AIHW.
- Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) Books - Breast cancer for Australia (ICD10 C50).www.aihw.gov.au/cancer/data/acim_books [Accessed January 2013].
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Cancer Australia 2012. Breast cancer in Australia: an overview. Cancer series no. 71. Cat no. CAN 67. Canberra: AIHW.
For further statistics and information on breast cancer in Australia, refer to:
- Report to the nation-breast cancer 2012 presents an on-line summary of information about incidence, mortality and survival for breast cancer in Australia, using the latest available data.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Cancer Australia 2012. Breast cancer in Australia: an overview. Data in this report provide a comprehensive picture of breast cancer in Australia including how breast cancer rates differ by geographical area, socioeconomic status, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status and country of birth.