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.