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Breast cancer statistics

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 and mortality

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:

  • 25,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This represents 26% of all new cancer cases in women in 2015.
  • 5,000 women will die from breast cancer. This represents 14% of all cancer deaths in women in 2015.
  • On average, 68 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
  • On average, 14 Canadian women will die from breast cancer every day.
  • 220 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 60 will die from it.

Estimated Canadian breast cancer statistics (2015)
CategoryMalesFemales

New cases

220

25,000

Incidence rate (for every 100,000 people)*

0.9

100

Deaths

60

5,000

Death rate (for every 100,000 people)*

0.2

18

5-year relative survival (estimates for 2006–2008)

80%

88%

*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.

Trends in breast cancer

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.

Chances (probability) of developing or dying from 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.

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