Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the 2nd leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian women. Breast cancer can also occur in men, but it is not common.
To provide the most current cancer statistics, researchers use statistical methods to estimate the number of new cancer cases and deaths until actual data become available.
Incidence is the total number of new cases of cancer. Mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer.
It is estimated that in 2015:
Incidence rate (for every 100,000 people)*
Death rate (for every 100,000 people)*
5-year relative survival (estimates for 2006–2008)
*Age-standardized to the 1991 Canadian Standard Population. Age-standardization is a statistical method that removes the effect of age on the calculated rate. It allows rates to be compared over time or across provinces and territories.
The breast cancer incidence rate in women in Canada rose through the early 1990s but decreased in the early 2000s. This increase occurred because mammography was used more often and breast cancer screening programs were introduced, which meant that more cases of breast cancer were found. Another reason may be the increasing use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) among post-menopausalpost-menopausalThe time after menopause. women, which has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. The decrease coincided with a large drop in the use of HRT when its role in breast cancer was publicized.
The breast cancer death rate has been declining since the mid-1980s. This reduction in death rates reflects the impact of screening and improvements in treatment for breast cancer.
Based on 2010 estimates, about 1 in 9 Canadian women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime and 1 in 30 will die from it.
For more information, go to Canadian Cancer Statistics publication.
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Community Services Locator helps cancer patients and their families find the services and programs they need in their community.