Breast Cancer Fact Sheet

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, excluding cancers of the skin.
  • More than two million women are living with breast cancer.
  • A new breast cancer case is diagnosed every 2.2 minutes.
  • In 2007, breast cancer will account for nearly one out of every four cancer diagnoses in women.
  • In the U.S., breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women as a whole (after lung cancer).
  • A woman dies from breast cancer every 13 minutes.
  • If every woman lived to age 85, one out of eight living in the United States would develop breast cancer—a “lifetime” risk that was one out of 14 in 1980.
  • Men develop breast cancer too…ccounting for approximately one percent of cases.
  • White women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, while black women are more likely to die from the disease.
  • Risk increases with age. The chance of a woman under the age of 39 developing breast cancer is one in 210. From ages 40–59 it is one in 25. From ages 60–69, it is one in 27, and from ages 70 and older it is one in 15.
  • More than 50 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no identifiable risk factors other than age.
  • The median age of death for white breast cancer patients is 70, for black breast cancer patients it is 61 years.
  • Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer. They detect tumors, but can miss more than one-quarter of all breast cancers.
  • Low income breast cancer patients have five-year relative survival rates that are nine percent lower than higher-income patients.
  • Low-income black women are three times more likely than higher-income African American women to be diagnosed with advanced disease.
  • Uninsured women and women on Medicaid are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage of breast cancer and are 30-50 percent more likely to die than women with private health insurance.