How Common Is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. In the United States, 13% of women are diagnosed with breast cancer, with rates varying by age and ethnicity.

This article explains important facts and statistics about breast cancer and what to expect if you are diagnosed.

Woman with breast cancer looking at medication

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Rates of Breast Cancer

In 2019, 264,121 new cases of female breast cancer were reported in the United States, with 42,280 of those women dying. Put another way, for every 100,000 women in the United States, 130 new cases of female breast cancer were reported, with 19 of those women dying.

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. In 2020, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Risk by Age

The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age; most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50.

Risk by Race or Ethnicity

From 2019 to 2020, incidence rates of breast cancer were highest in non-Hispanic White people (130.8 per 100,000), followed by non-Hispanic Black people (126.7), American-Indian (94.7), Latinx (93.7), and Asian-Pacific-Islander women (93.2).

Trends in Rates of Breast Cancer

According to data from 1999 to 2018, trends in the rates of breast cancer include:

  • A slight increase in breast cancer incidence occurred in the United States from 2013 to 2017.
  • The overall breast cancer incidence rates among U.S. women decreased by an average of 0.3% per year from 1999 to 2018.
  • Breast cancer rates increased among non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander women and women aged 20–39 years from 1999 to 2018 in the United States.
  • In the United States, breast cancer rates decreased among non-Hispanic White women and women aged 50–64 from 1999 to 2018.
  • Incidence rates among U.S. non-Hispanic Black women had no significant change from 1999 to 2018.

Survival Rates

Survival rates refer to the percentage of people who survive the same type and stage of cancer (usually for five years) following diagnosis. Survival rates are divided into localized (cancer did not spread outside the breast), regional (cancer spread to nearby areas (lymph nodes) outside of the breast), and distant (cancer spread to bones, liver, lungs, and other distant body parts).

The five-year survival rates for each stage include the following:

  • Localized: 99% survival rate
  • Regional: 86% survival rate
  • Distant: 29% survival rate
  • All stages combined: 90% survival rate

Breast Cancer Rates for Men

Although breast cancer in men is rare, it is possible. One out of every 100 breast cancer cases in the United States will be male.


Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide. Most cases of breast cancer are found in women, but men can also get breast cancer (although this is much rarer). Survival rates for breast cancer will vary based on the type of breast cancer involved (localized, regional, distant). Understanding your risk factors and keeping up with preventive care is essential for breast cancer prevention.

A Word From Verywell

The thought of a breast cancer diagnosis can be incredibly frightening. Knowing the symptoms of breast cancer and getting an annual mammogram are vital for breast cancer prevention. Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How common is breast cancer in men?

    One out of every 100 people diagnosed with breast cancer will be male.

  • How often is breast cancer fatal?

    Fatality rates of breast cancer depend on various factors, including how far the cancer has spread. For cancer that stays localized to the breasts, there is a 99% survival rate. For cancer that has spread to distant areas of the body (lungs, liver, etc.), there is a 29% survival rate.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. World Health Organization. Cancer.

  2. American Cancer Society. Key statistics for breast cancer.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cancer statistics at a glance.

  4. World Health Organization. Breast cancer.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What are the risk factors for breast cancer?

  6. American Cancer Society. Breast cancer facts & figures 2019-2020.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in breast cancer incidence, by race, ethnicity, and age among women aged ≥20 years — united states, 1999–2018.

  8. American Cancer Society. Survival rates for breast cancer.

  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breast cancer in men.

By Molly Burford
Molly Burford is a mental health advocate and wellness book author with almost 10 years of experience in digital media.