Breast cancer in Australia
The following material has been sourced from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Breast cancer incorporates ICD-10 cancer codes C50 (Malignant neoplasm of breast).
Estimated* number of new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2016
16,084 = 150 males + 15,934 females
Estimated % of all new cancer cases diagnosed in 2016
Estimated number of deaths from breast cancer in 2016
3,073 = 27 males + 3,046 females
Estimated % of all deaths from cancer in 2016
Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2008–2012)
People living with breast cancer at the end of 2010 (diagnosed in the 5 year period 2006 to 2010)
How common is breast cancer in Australia?
In 2012, there were 15,166 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Australia (116 males and 15,050 females).a In 2016, it is estimated that 16,084 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (150 males and 15,934 females).b
In 2012, the age-standardised incidence rate was 61 cases per 100,000 persons (1.0 for males and 118 for females).d In 2016, it is estimated that the age-standardised incidence rate will be 59 cases per 100,000 persons (1.1 for males and 115 for females).
Breast cancer was the 2nd most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2012. It is estimated that it will become the 3rd most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2016.
In 2016, it is estimated that the risk of an individual being diagnosed with breast cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 16 (1 in 719 males and 1 in 8 females).
In 2016, it is expected that the incidence rate of breast cancer will increase with age until age group 65–69. It will then decrease for age group 70–79 before increasing for individuals aged 80+ (see figure below).
Figure 1: Estimated age-specific incidence rates for breast cancer, 2016
Source: AIHW analysis of the Australian Cancer Database, (see source table 1).
|Cancer type||New cases 2016||% of all new cancers 2016|
|Prostate (among males)||18,138||25.2|
|Breast (among females)||15,934||27.3|
Deaths from breast cancer
In 2013, there were 2,892 deaths from breast cancer in Australia (30 males and 2,862 females). In 2016, it is estimated that this will increase to 3,073 deaths (27 males and 3,046 females).c
In 2013, the age-standardised mortality rate was 11 deaths per 100,000 persons (0.2 for males and 20 for females).d In 2016, it is estimated that the age-standardised mortality rate will be 11 deaths per 100,000 persons (0.2 for males and 20 for females).
In 2013, breast cancer accounted for the 4th highest number of deaths from breast cancer in Australia. It is estimated that it will remain the 4th most common cause of death from cancer in 2016.
In 2016, it is estimated that the risk of an individual dying from breast cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 76 (1 in 3,566 for males and 1 in 40 for females).
Trends in cancer
The number of new cases of breast cancer diagnosed increased from 5,372 in 1982 to 15,166 in 2012.
Over the same period, the age-standardised incidence rate increased from 44 cases per 100,000 persons in 1982 to 61 cases per 100,000 persons in 2012.
The number of deaths from breast cancer increased from 1,435 in 1968 to 2,892 in 2013.
Over the same period, the age-standardised mortality rate decreased from 17 deaths per 100,000 persons in 1968 to 11 deaths per 100,000 in 2013.
Figure 2: Age-standardised incidence rates for breast cancer 1982–2012 and age-standardised mortality rates for breast cancer 1968–2013
Note: Incidence rates available for 1982–2012, and mortality rates available for 1968–2013.
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare1
Survival from breast cancer
In 2008–2012 in Australia, individuals diagnosed with breast cancer had a 90% chance of surviving for 5 years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population.
Between 1983–1987 and 2008–2012, 5-year relative survival from breast cancer improved from 72% to 90%.
Figure 3: 5-year relative survival from breast cancer, 1983–1987 to 2008–2012
Source: AIHW analysis of the Australian Cancer Database, (see source table 2).
Prevalence of breast cancer
The prevalence for 1, 5 and 29 years given below are the number of people living with breast cancer at the end of 2010 who had been diagnosed in the preceding 1, 5 and 29 years respectively.
One year prevalence
At the end of 2010, there were 14,106 people living who had been diagnosed with breast cancer that year.
Five year prevalence
At the end of 2010, there were 61,554 people living who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous 5 years (from 2006 to 2010).
29 year prevalence
At the end of 2010, there were 176,556 people living who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous 29 years (from 1982 to 2010).
|Age group (years)||Number of new cases
per 100,000 persons
|Year||5-year relative survival (%)|
International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD-10)
Cancer, like other health conditions, is classified by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD-10). This is a statistical classification, published by the World Health Organization, in which each morbid condition is assigned a unique code according to established criteria.
Future estimates for incidence and mortality are a mathematical extrapolation of past trends. They assume that the most recent trends will continue into the future, and are intended to illustrate future changes that might reasonably be expected to occur if the stated assumptions continue to apply over the estimated period. Actual future cancer incidence and mortality rates may vary from these estimations for a variety of factors. New screening programs may increase the detection of new cancer cases; new vaccination programs may decrease the risk of developing cancer; and improvements in treatment options may decrease mortality rates.
Due to the rounding of these estimates, male and female incidence and mortality may not sum to person incidence and mortality.
Cancer incidence indicates the number of new cancers diagnosed during a specified time period (usually one year).
- The 2012 national incidence counts include estimates for NSW and the ACT because the actual data were not available.
- The 2016 estimates are based on 2002–11 incidence data. Due to rounding of these estimates, male and female incidence may not sum to person incidence.
Cancer mortality refers to the number of deaths occurring during a specified time period (usually one year) for which the underlying cause of death is cancer.
- The 2016 estimates are based on 2002–13 mortality data.
Prevalence of cancer refers to the number of people alive with a prior diagnosis of cancer at a given time. It is distinct from incidence (see above). The longest period for which it is possible to calculate prevalence using the available national data (from 1982 to 2010) is currently 29 years. This span is used to estimate the 'total' prevalence of cancer at the end of 2010, noting that people diagnosed with cancer before 1982 are not included.
Age standardised rates
- Incidence and mortality rates expressed per 100,000 population are age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016. Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books: breast cancer. Canberra: AIHW. [Accessed January 2016].
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.