Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, except for skin cancers. It is about 30% (or 1 in 3) of all new female cancers each year.
The American Cancer Society's estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2023 are:
Breast cancer mainly occurs in middle-aged and older women. The median age at the time of breast cancer diagnosis is 62. This means half of the women who developed breast cancer are 62 years of age or younger when they are diagnosed. A very small number of women diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 45.
Overall, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. This means there is a 1 in 8 chance she will develop breast cancer. This also means there is a 7 in 8 chance she will never have the disease.
In recent years, incidence rates have increased by 0.5% per year.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. (Only lung cancer kills more women each year.) The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is about 1 in 39 (about 2.5%).
Breast cancer death rates have been decreasing steadily since 1989, for an overall decline of 43% through 2020. The decrease in death rates is believed to be the result of finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatments. However, the decline has slowed slightly in recent years.
Some variations in breast cancer can be seen in racial and ethnic groups. For example:
At this time there are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.
Survival rates are discussed in Survival Rates for Breast Cancer.
Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.
The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2023. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2023.
American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts and Figures 2019-2020. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2020.
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2018, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2018/, based on November 2020 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2021.
Lifetime Risk (Percent) of Dying from Cancer by Site and Race/Ethnicity: Females, Total US, 2014-2016 (Table 1.19). https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/2016_2018/results_merged/topic_lifetime_risk.pdf. 2019. Accessed November 5, 2021.
Last Revised: January 12, 2023
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