Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer among Australian women and is the most common cause of cancer-related death.

  • The risk of breast cancer increases with age. 1 in 8 Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by age 85.
  • Approximately 25% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women under 50 years and approximately 25% are diagnosed in women over 70 years.
  • In 2002, the average age at first diagnosis was 60 years.
  • In younger women breast cancers are likely to be larger and more aggressive than in older women.
  • Breast cancer can develop in men but it is less common than in women.
  • Early diagnosis and intervention improve the outcome for the patient.
  • The five-year relative survival rate for Australian women with breast cancer increased from approximatley 70% from 1982-86 to 86% from 1998-2002. This represents the proportion of people who would live for five years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, if all other causes of death were excluded.

Will the COVID-19 lockdown delay diagnosis of breast cancer?

Missed breast cancer diagnoses may become a tragic side-effect of women embracing advice to ‘stay home’.

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