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Facts and statistics

'Every week research is published relating to breast cancer, but which of these studies will have an impact on your readers? Breast Cancer Care’s team of clinical experts is on hand to help you understand the issues associated with the disease and its treatment so you can provide your audience with accurate, engaging content.'
Dr Emma Pennery, Clinical Director and one of the UK’s leading breast cancer clinical nurse specialists

The facts:

  • the biggest risk factor, after gender, is increasing age – approximately 81% of breast cancers occur in women over the age of 50
  • more people are being diagnosed with breast cancer but survival rates are improving – probably as a result of improved treatment and earlier detection
  • breast cancer also affects men, but it is rare – around 350 men are diagnosed each year.

The stats:

In the UK:

  • around 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK. That’s one person every 10 minutes
  • just under 12,000 people die from breast cancer in the UK every year
  • breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK (around a third of all new cancers diagnosed in women in the UK are breast cancer)
  • there are an estimated 550,000 people living in the UK today who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer.

In Scotland:

  • around 4,400 people are diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland each year and around 20 of these are men
  • around 1,000 people die each year from breast cancer
  • 1.4% of women in Scotland have been diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.

In Wales:

  • just over 2,600 women and around 15 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year
  • breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Wales
  • there were 627 deaths from breast cancer in 2008 in Wales.

The fiction:

  • Five years past diagnosis means I’ve got the ‘all clear’. As well as potentially experiencing long-term side effects of treatment, patients face the uncertainty that their cancer could return at any time – including a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer which can’t be cured, only controlled.
  • Stress causes breast cancer. Despite numerous studies, no definitive link between stress and breast cancer has been found.
  • Breast cancer is mainly a hereditary disease. Breast cancer can run in families, but fewer than 10 per cent of cases are as a result of an inherited faulty gene.

For more stats or to speak to one of our Clinical Nurse Specialists, email press@breastcancercare.org.uk or call 0207 960 3464 / 07702 901 334.

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Statistics taken from Cancer Research UK, Information Service Division Scotland and Wales Cancer Surveillance and Intelligence Unit