Breast Cancer in Australia

July 22, 2014
Breast Cancer in Australia

Breast cancer in Australia – the facts

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We all know about breast cancer. Unfortunately most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. But what are the facts? How many women are diagnosed in Australia each year? Is it on the increase?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women. This year alone, over 15,000 Australian women and around 125 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This means that today alone, another 41 Australian women will learn that they have breast cancer. Tragically, seven women will also lose their lives today to the disease – 2700 women a year die in Australia from breast cancer.

The number of women being diagnosed each year is continuing to increase, partly due to better detection but because of Australia’s ageing population and lifestyle factors.

But it is important to remember that most women survive breast cancer.

Although the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is growing, fortunately survival rates continue to improve. Currently 89% of Australian women are still alive five years after diagnosis. Of course, many women live long and healthy lives well beyond this period.

A snapshot of breast cancer in Australia:

  • Australian women have a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of developing breast cancer
  • The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age
  • The average age of first diagnosis of breast cancer in women is 60 years
  • 75 per cent of new cases of breast cancer develop in women over the age of 50

It is difficult to pinpoint why some women get breast cancer and others don't. There are some risk factors which may increase your risk of developing breast cancer, but having one or more of these risk factors does not mean you will definitely develop breast cancer.

Known risk factors include:

  • being a woman

  • getting older

  • inheriting a faulty gene that increases the risk

  • having a strong family history of breast cancer

To learn more about breast cancer in Australia, visit the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) website.

Read Tracey's story on her battle with breast cancer "While There is Life, There is Hope"

If you or someone you care about has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, contact Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) for a My Journey Kit, a free information resource for newly diagnosed women - 1800 500 258 or BCNA's website

For information on how to telling children click here

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