Breast cancer

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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.

Incidence and mortality

Incidence is the total number of new cases of cancer. Mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer. The following incidence and mortality statistics are estimated using the most up-to-date actual data available.

It is estimated that in 2016:

  • 25,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This represents 26% of all new cancer cases in women in 2016.
  • 4,900 women will die from breast cancer. This represents 13% of all cancer deaths in women in 2016.
  • On average, 70 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
  • On average, 13 Canadian women will die from breast cancer every day.

It is estimated that in 2016, 230 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 55 will die from it.

Estimated Canadian breast cancer statistics (2016)

New cases



Incidence rate (for every 100,000 people)*






Death rate (for every 100,000 people)*



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



*Age-standardized to the 2011 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.

Pie chart of percentage of all estimated new cancer cases in women in 2016 showing breast cancer and all other cancers combined
 Pie chart of percentage of all estimated cancer deaths in women in 2016 from breast cancer and all other cancers combined

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 partly because mammography was used more often, which meant that more cases of breast cancer were found. Another reason may be the increasing use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)hormone replacement therapy (HRT)Treatment that replaces female sex hormones ( estrogen, progesterone or both) when they are no longer produced by the ovaries. 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 among postmenopausal women 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 likely 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 the Canadian Cancer Statistics publication.


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