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Incidence of breast cancer

Key findings*

Females

In 2008 in Australia:

  • Breast cancer was by far the most commonly diagnosed invasive cancer in females (excluding basal and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin), accounting for 28% of all cancers in females.
  • A total of 13,567 breast cancers were diagnosed in Australian females.
  • More than 69% of breast cancers were diagnosed in those aged 40–69.
  • The risk that a female would be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85 was 1 in 8.

Between 1982 and 2008:

  • The number of new breast cancers in females more than doubled (from 5,310 to 13,567 new cases).
  • The age-standardised incidence rate of breast cancer increased from 81 to 116 per 100,000 in the period 1982 to 1995, after which the rate was fairly stable ranging between 110 and 118 per 100,000.

In the 5 years from 2004 to 2008:

  • The age-standardised incidence rate of breast cancer for females was highest in the Australian Capital Territory (124 per 100,000) and lowest in the Northern Territory (84 per 100,000).
  • The incidence rate of breast cancer tended to decrease with remoteness (from 114 per 100,000 in Major cities to 94 per 100,000 in Remote and very remote).
  • The incidence rate of breast cancer tended to increase with improving socioeconomic status (from 103 per 100,000 in the lowest socioeconomic status group to 122 per 100,000 in the highest socioeconomic status group).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females were less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than their non-Indigenous counterparts (81 and 103 per 100,000, respectively).

Males

In 2008 in Australia:

  • 113 breast cancers were diagnosed in Australian males.
  • The risk of a male being diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85 years was 1 in 688.

Between 1982 and 2008:

  • The number of new breast cancers diagnosed in males increased slightly (from 61 to 113 new cases).
  • The age-standardised incidence rate of breast cancer in males remained relatively stable, at about 1 per 100,000.

* The exert above is from Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Cancer Australia 2012. Breast cancer in Australia: an overview. Cancer series no. 71. Cat. no. CAN 67. Canberra: AIHW

The full report can be accessed at: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737423008

Data in this report provides a comprehensive picture of breast cancer in Australia including how breast cancer rates differ by geographical area, socioeconomic status, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status and country of birth.