Why Are Breast Cancer Statistics & Survival Rates Important?
Collating breast cancer statistics is important in order to track how many people are being diagnosed with and surviving breast cancer each year. These statistics allows us to track how improved treatments and screening techniques have contributed to better survival rates.
It is also important to record how different factors can vary these statistics. For example: types of cancer, stage of cancer, age and gender.
This information allows doctors to better inform their patients of their individualised survival chances, which can also help to inform treatments.
New Cases of Breast Cancer
In 2019, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare predicts 19,371 women and 164 men in Australia will receive a breast cancer diagnosis. In New Zealand, approximately 3,500 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for Australian and New Zealand women.
The number of people diagnosed with breast cancer has steadily increased over time, however survival rates have improved. In the past 20 years, the five-year relative survival rate for early stage breast cancer has increased from 73% to 91% in Australia. In New Zealand, the chance of surviving five years is 88%. The chance of surviving at least ten years in Australia is 83%, while in New Zealand it is 80-95%, if detected early via a mammogram.
Survival Statistics By Stage of Diagnosis
The relative five-year survival rate for a female diagnosed with breast cancer in its earliest stage or stage one is effectively 100%, according to 2011 data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. When females are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (advanced or stage four), the 5-year survival rate is reduced to 32%1. This highlights the important of detecting cancer at an earlier stage to improve survival chances.
On average, breast cancer in females is diagnosed at stage one or two. The higher proportion of cases diagnosed as stage one and two for breast cancer may be partly attributable to the national breast cancer screening program.
Breast Cancer Mortality Rates
In 2019, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates 3,090 people will die from breast cancer. It is the 4th leading cause of death from cancer in Australia. The risk of dying from breast cancer before age 75 is 1 in 78 for women, and 1 in 7,922 in males. The risk of dying from breast cancer before age 85 is 1 in 43 for women and 1 in 3,455 for males.
In New Zealand, approximately 630 people will die from breast cancer this year. About 70% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and about 80% of women who die from it are 50 years or older.