Breast Cancer by the Numbers

Breast cancer statistics and trends published in new report

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Every other year, the American Cancer Society publishes statistics and trends about breast cancer. Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2013-2014 offers some interesting insights into the current state of the disease.

Breast cancer incidence has increased among African American women. The number of cases in black women may one day equal the historically higher number of cases among white women, the report documented.

Meanwhile, fewer Hispanic women between the ages of 30 and 59 are developing breast cancer.

These are just some of the trends reported by this latest breast cancer report.

"Find out your individual risk of developing breast cancer."

The report’s authors are all researchers in the Epidemiologist, Surveillance and Health Services Research department of the American Cancer Society. Carol DeSantis, MPH, was the lead investigator, and was joined by colleagues Jiemin Ma, PhD, Leah Bryan, MPH, and Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD.

The researchers relied on and reported data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute to write this report.

The broad strokes are that breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women after skin cancer.

It’s also the second leading cancer-related cause of death among women after lung cancer.

This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that 232,340 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

A woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is 12.29 percent, meaning that about one in every eight women will develop the disease at some point in her lifetime.

In the 1970s, one out of 11 women developed breast cancer; the difference in incidence is thought to be because mammography is more widely used today and is picking up more cancers. Also, women are living longer.

A women who is 20 years old today has a one in 1,732 chance of developing breast cancer. By the age of 30, her odds increase to one in 228. By age 50, her chances are one in 43 and jump to one in 26 by the age of 70.

According to the report, the most common form of breast cancer — estrogen-receptor positive (ER+), which is driven by the hormone estrogen — is increasing in the youngest women, Hispanic women in their 60s and all but the oldest African American women.

White women have the highest rates of ER+ breast cancer, while African American women have the highest rates of ER- breast cancer.

"Overall breast cancer incidence rates increased during the most recent time period (2006-2010) among non-Hispanic white women aged 30 years to 49 years and African American women aged 60 years to 69 years, whereas rates decreased for Hispanic women aged 30 years to 49 years and 50 years to 59 years,” the authors wrote.

African Americans are still diagnosed with fewer breast cancers than their white counterparts. In 2010, however, death rates were 41 percent higher in African American women than in white women.

Since 1990, breast cancer mortality (death) rates have declined by 34 percent in women of all races and ethnic groups, with the exception of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

In terms of five-year survival rates, African American women have the lowest rates — 78.9 percent of any racial or ethnic group.

Asian American and Pacific Islander women had the highest five-year survival rate at 91.1 percent.

“During 2006 through 2010, the average annual female breast cancer death rate was highest in African Americans (30.8 deaths per 100,000 females) and lowest among Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (11.5 deaths per 100,000 females),” the report noted.

Highest incidence of invasive breast cancer among non-Hispanic white women was seen in the District of Columbia (160.5 cases out of 100,000 women), and the lowest incidence was seen in Arkansas (109.6 cases per 100,000 women).

Among African American women, the highest incidences of invasive breast cancer are seen in Alaska (147.5 cases per 100,000 women), and the lowest incidence was in New Mexico (83.4 cases per 100,000 women).

“Continued progress in the control of breast cancer will require sustained and increased efforts to provide high-quality screening, diagnosis, and treatment to all segments of the population,” the report concluded.

This report was published October 1 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

The American Cancer Society funded the research. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Review Date: 
October 1, 2013
Last Updated:
October 1, 2013