Breast cancer: The facts

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women.

  • 14 560 women were diagnosed in 20121
  • 12% of all cancers (men and women) 1
  • Lifetime risk for a woman developing breast cancer to age 75 is 1 in 112

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Australian women:

  • Almost 3000 deaths in 2012.1
  • The 5 year survival rate for breast cancer is currently 89%.3

Ductal cell carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

DCIS is a non-invasive breast cancer. The incidence of DCIS is highest in women aged 50 – 69. Women diagnosed with DCIS are four times more likely to develop invasive breast cancer.3

Early breast cancer

Early breast cancer is non-metastatic, invasive, localised breast cancer that may or may not have spread to lymph nodes in the breast or armpit.3

The 5 year survival rate for women diagnosed with early breast cancer in Australia is 97%.3

Secondary breast cancer

Secondary breast cancer is metastatic or advanced cancer. Common sites of metastases are liver, lungs, brain and bones. Around 7% of breast cancers are diagnosed at this stage and the 5 year survival is around 40%.3

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Cancer in Australia: an overview 2012. Canberra: AIHW, 2012; Cat. no. CAN 56. (accessed 12 December 2012).
  2. Department of Health and Ageing. BreastScreen Australia Evaluation. Evaluation Final Report. 2009. (accessed 7 June 2013).
  3. Australian Government Cancer Australia. Report to the nation breast cancer 2012. 2012. (accessed 7 June 2013).