October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; this month is dedicated to restoring hope to those living with the disease or survived it. Through awareness initiatives, research, and fundraising, we can continue to support our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters in their fight against breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect Canadian women.1 Research shows that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.1 Breast cancer tends to occur in women between the ages of 50 and 69, but it can also occur in men (though less common).2
Fortunately, as a result of research and advancements in technology, the disease’s outcome has substantially improved.
What is Breast Cancer?
Abnormal growth and behaviour of cells in the breast can cause non-cancerous conditions such as hyperplasia, cysts and tumours. However, these cellular changes can also cause breast cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer
In the early stages of the disease, women may experience no apparent signs or symptoms. However, if they do, then typically these are the symptoms they will experience:4
- a lump in the armpit
- changes in the shape or size of the breast
- changes to the nipple, such as an inverted nipple
- discharge or blood that comes out of the nipple without squeezing it
Breast cancer statistics
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the second 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 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 data available at the analysis time.
It is estimated that in 2020:
- 27,400 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This represents 25% of all new cancer cases in women in 2020.
- 5,100 women will die from breast cancer. This represents 13% of all cancer deaths in women in 2020.
- On average, 75 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
- On average, 14 Canadian women will die from breast cancer every day.
- 240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 55 will die from breast cancer.