Eye-opening Worldwide Breast Cancer Statistics

Eye-opening Worldwide Breast Cancer Statistics
Eye-opening Worldwide Breast Cancer Statistics

About 1.7 million of new breast cancer cases were diagnosed in 2012 and this fact makes breast cancer the most common women’s cancer in the world. It represents 25% of all cancer types in women and 12% of all new cancer cases.

Statistics on breast cancer prevention

The studies have reviled that 22% of breast cancer cases in Brazil could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and not drinking alcohol.

The top 20 countries with the highest incidence of breast cancer are in the table below.


CountryAge-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
3France (metropolitan)104.5
4The Netherlands99.0
7United Kingdom95.0
9United States of America92.9
11French Polynesia92.2
16New Caledonia87.6
19New Zealand85.0


Top 3 of this list include countries such as Belgium, Denmark, and France. The highest incidence of breast cancer was registered in regions like Oceania and Northern America. Asia and Africa have the lowest breast cancer incidence.

Statistics on breast cancer survivors

There are top 20 countries with the biggest number of breast cancer survivors in the table below. This statistics was set in 2012 and indicate the number of women who were alive 5 years after the breast cancer was diagnosed. The countries are ranked according to the number of breast cancer survivors per 100,000 women in particular country.

RankCountryNumber of women still alive five years after the diagnosis of breast cancer
3France (metropolitan)230,385
4The Netherlands57,493
8United Kingdom200,286
9United States of America970,693
18New Zealand11,557

Belgium Denmark and France had the highest proportion of breast cancer survivors. There are 3.2 million women who had survived breast cancer in developed countries, and 3.0 million – in developing countries. The highest proportion of breast cancer survivors is registered in regions such us Northern America and Europe, and the lowest – in Africa and Asia.

World statistics of breast cancer

Despite the common misconception that breast cancer is a disease of developed countries, the majority (69%) of breast cancer cases occur in developing countries (according to the WHO).

breast cancer support groupThe coefficients of morbidity worldwide vary widely, while in North America, age-standardized indicators reached 99.4 per 100 000 women. Eastern Europe, South America, South Africa and West Asia have a moderate incidence rates, but they increase. The lowest incidence rates observed in African countries, but even here the figures increase.

The survival rates in women with breast cancer vary a lot in different countries – from 80% and more in North America, Sweden and Japan to about 60% in middle-income countries and less than 40% in low-income countries. The low survival rates in less developed countries are explained mainly by the lack of programs for the early detection, resulting in a significant percentage of women, whose disease is detected at later stages, as well as the lack of proper facilities and equipment to diagnosing and treating.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and this disease is becoming increasingly common in developing countries, where most cases are diagnosed in late stages.

The breast cancer incidence increased by 32.5 % in Russia over the past ten years. The United States present the world standard of treatment of this disease – more than 80 % of women recovers from breast cancer in this country. For example, no more than 30 % of women recover from breast cancer in Russia.

Betty FordAlmost 40 years ago, the former first lady of the United States Betty Ford has announced to the world her diagnosis of breast cancer and that she would remove the tumor with mastectomy surgery. This bold decision of Betty Ford to announce her diagnosis broke down the walls of silence surrounding this disease and pushed millions of women undergo screening. As a result, the rate of breast cancer in the US increased dramatically. Researchers call it “the Betty Ford effect”.

But on the other hand, the growth of breast cancer rates, which is observed in the United States and other rich countries over the past three decades, can’t be explained only by a greater awareness and expansion of screening.

For example, China was usually among countries of low breast cancer incidence. Nevertheless, China experienced an increasing of breast cancer incidence, which grows twice faster than global rates in the past two decades. Statistics shows 22.1 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 women. Unfortunately, the prevention of breast cancer hasn’t been carried out well in China because of the economic disparities and insufficient financial resources. Chinese health-care systems face with many difficulties on the way to breast cancer treatment. Public participation can help to promote the early breast cancer detection and increase awareness.

Causes of differences

Why does women’s lifestyle in developed countries increase the probability of the breast cancer appearance compared to women in parts of South-East Asia and Africa, where the incidence of this disease, as a rule, is five times lower?

womens and breast cancerCan we explain this difference, by low rates of breast cancer detection in poor countries, where the real burden may be significantly higher than that, which is presented in the available data?

According to the scientists, there is no genetic immunity against breast cancer in some groups of people. When people move from poor countries to rich, they will have the same characteristics with the inhabitants of these countries through a generation or two. The point is the lifestyle.

The scientists have shown that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer and lactations protects against this disease. Overweight women have a higher content of estrogen (hormone) in the blood, and fat cells produce estrogen which stimulates the growth of most types of breast cancers. Alcohol is also associated with increased levels of hormones in the blood, which may play the role of the mechanism which increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Several recent studies show that physical activity can reduce the risk, because it helps to control weight and activates additional processes of the body.

As for lifestyle, the childbirth influences on the global variation of breast cancer risk. There are low indexes in some parts of Africa because women start giving birth at an early age, they have a few children, and they breastfeed for a long period of time. Lower rates can be explained in part by structural changes in the breast tissue and a reduction in the number of stem cells. But it is also possible that the risk reduces due to childbirth and less effects of estrogen.

pregnant womenScientists believe that the more menstrual cycles women has in her life, the greater her risk of breast cancer is. Every time a woman gets pregnant, she misses nine or ten cycles. Those women, who have maturation earlier, will have more cycles, and doctors are very concerned by the fact that the maturation of girls coming from one to two years earlier than a generation ago. Studies show that girls, who are overweight or have the obesity, tend to come to the age of puberty earlier. It was also proved that hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives are among the risk factors for breast cancer, because they are the sources of estrogen.

In conclusion, it’s necessary to note that a healthy lifestyle and timely breast screening – are among the most important factors which can help to prevent the breast cancer.


1. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/91/9/13-020913/ru

2. http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/data-specific-cancers/breast-cancer-statistics

3. http://www.who.int/topics/cancer/breastcancer/ru/index1.html

4. http://www.rg.ru/2004/03/31/rak.html

5. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095882X15000043

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